The bedrock of the ocean’s food chain, on which whales, sharks, and octopi ultimately rely, are tiny bits of photosynthetic algae called diatoms. They come in thousands of shapes and are imperceptible to the human eye.
If their populations collapse or shrink, there could be dramatic reverberations throughout the vast marine food web.
Scientists have now identified a climate change-related threat to diatoms, and it comes from a known and growing threat: Ocean acidification.
In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists collected a species of diatom from the ocean and exposed it to increased seawater acidity — akin to the projected ocean acidity levels by the end of the century. They found that more acidic waters hindered diatoms from getting the nutrition they need, specifically iron, for their numbers to grow. Read more…
More about Science, Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and Plankton