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.
Research finds 4.5-billion-year-old moon formed few million years after Earth
In Europe, green cars benefit increasingly from subsidies, tax breaks and other perks, while combustion engines face mounting penalties including driving and parking restrictions.
Automation has transformed the productivity of manufacturing since industrial robots first started painting, cutting, welding and assembling in the 1960s.
The Marines's version of the plane, known as the F-35B, is capable of conducting short takeoffs and vertical landings.
An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded September 1 in Cape Canaveral, destroying a satellite that Facebook planned to use to beam high-speed internet to Africa.
English, Chinese versions removed following government request
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of York, England, corroborated the results of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) research paper in 2015.
The South Korean automaker wants to stand out by being ordinary: making a self-driving car for the average consumer.
New $100 billion fund initiated by Japanese bank finds supporters in Foxconn, Saudi Arabia and Oracle
Turmaks establishes a facility to produce silicopolymer recycling technology in the Netherlands
The rocket is set to blast off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota in February carrying three Indian satellites and 100 foreign ones including from the US, France and Germany, the Press Trust of India said.
A new design takes on Tesla surpassing key benchmarks
The factory will make large-screen liquid crystal displays (LCD), the firm said at an event in the Chinese city on Friday. It will be operational by 2019.
"The first A380 with a Rolls Royce engine has been delivered to Emirates Airline," a spokesman for the aerospace giant said.
Finland, once a world leader in mobile telephony with Nokia, is in a class of its own when it comes to internet usage on smartphones and tablets, thanks to cheap subscription plans.
'Milestone' technology bank to help least-developed countries to be housed in Kocaeli, 70 km from Istanbul, says TUBITAK