April 4, 2011 by Ocean Ark Alliance
Categorised in News, Science
Marine abalone and sea urchins will not develop skeletons if the ocean continues to warm and acidify as predicted, according to current research lead by the University of Sydney’s Schools of Medical Sciences and Biological Sciences, at environmentally significant Little Bay, near Sydney.
When exposed to the increased acidity and temperature levels projected 100 years from now they produced deformed specimens, without shells or spines. This means key sources of protein will be lost due to future changes in our oceans.
“We wondered about the impact of climate change on shelled marine animals since ocean acidification reduces the amount of carbonate ions, which they need to make their calcium carbonate skeletons,” says Professor Maria Byrne, from University of Sydney’s Schools of Biological Science and Medical Sciences.
Lead author Prof. Byrne and her team investigate how the simultaneous increase in acidity and temperature affect development from fertilised egg to juvenile stages of sea urchins and abalone, a first for any study.