World Bulletin / News Desk
Ocean acidification caused by climate change is making it harder for creatures from clams to sea urchins to grow their shells, and the trend is likely to be felt most in polar regions, scientists said on Monday.
A thinning of the protective cases of mussels, oysters, lobsters and crabs is likely to disrupt marinefood chains by making the creatures more vulnerable to predators, which could reduce human sources of seafood.
"The results suggest that increased acidity is affecting the size and weight of shells and skeletons, and the trend is widespread across marine species," the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said in a statement of the findings.
Human emissions of greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, and some of that carbon dioxide ends up in the oceans, where it dissolves to form acid.
The ocean acidification makes it harder for creatures to extract calcium carbonate - vital to grow skeletons and shells - especially from chill waters in the Arctic Ocean and around Antarctica, according to the study in the journal Global Change Biology.
"Where it gets colder and the calcium carbonate is harder to get out of the seawater the animals have thinner skeletons," Professor Lloyd Peck of the BAS told Reuters TV in an interview.
So a shift towards acidification in the ocean was likely to force animals to have smaller skeletons, he said of the study by scientists in Britain, Australia and Singapore.
"We think that the polar regions, and especially Antarctica, are likely to be the first places where animals reach these critical problems for making skeletons," he said.
Changes under way in the chill waters were likely to be a sign of what to expect in future in temperate zones and the tropics, he said.
The experts studied four types of creatures - clams, sea snails, lamp shells and sea urchins - at 12 sites, stretching across the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
"The fact the same effect occurs consistently in all four types suggests the effect is widespread acrossmarine species, and that increasing ocean acidification will progressively reduce the availability of calcium carbonate," it said.
In the past, animals had evolved to be able to live in places where calcium carbonate is relatively difficult to obtain - such as off Antarctica - by forming lighter skeletons, it said.
So there was hope that they might be able to evolve again to adapt.
"Given enough time and a slow enough rate of change, evolution may again help these animals survive in our acidifying oceans," said Sue-Ann Watson, of James Cook University in Australia.
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The slowdown in the rate of rising temperatures, from faster gains in the 1980s and 1990s, has puzzled scientists because heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions
The discovery challenges currently held theories that black holes and their host galaxies grew in relative lockstep over the eons.
Australian researchers are developing the new way to have a final product for Boeing Co, Airbus Group NV, very quickly than now. 3D printing can cut production times for components from three months to just six days.
Bogachev is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.
The account started sharing videos and photos of the militant group a few days ago
U.S., UK spies hacked SIM card maker Gemalto's system, Intercept says, giving spies ability to monitor calls on billions of phones
The next time an earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, a handful of computers in offices across the region will have access to a software that will send out an alarm, alerting people before the earthquake strikes.
Researchers in Britain have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher than spider silk.
Epigenetic differences are one reason identical twins, who have identical DNA, do not always develop the same genetic diseases, including cancer.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.
The makers of mobile travel app "Bey2ollak" have warn on bomb scares and resulting hold-ups in Cairo and Alexandria using the hashtag #WhereIsTheBomb.
The preschool programme, aimed at children aged between three and six, is based on the Finnish National Curriculum, widely considered one of the world's best education systems.