The Hot Zone

CONSEQUENCES FOR MARINE ECOSYSTEMS

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 12, 2009
Category : The Oceans

by Erica Rex

For finfish, direct impacts of ocean acidification may be limited. On the other hand, there are many unknowns: for balance and orientation finfish use calcareous structures in the inner ear (otoliths). How will otolith formation be affected or how will ocean acidification impair, directly or indirectly, the fertilisation success or developmental stages, particularly for indirect developers and broadcast spawners?

For instance, salmon yearlings prey mainly on pteropods, which may be among the first organisms to be affected by ocean acidification. Hence, ocean acidification may influence the structure and productivity of primary and secondary benthic and planktonic production, which in turn may affect the productivity of fish communities and higher trophic levels. In addition, the interaction of ocean acidification with thermal tolerance may change the temperature-dependent biogeography for many fish species.*

*Source: “The Impacts of Ocean Acidification,” in European Science Foundation, Science Policy Briefing 37, pp 1–12, 2009

for the full paper, see the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab Website.

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