As oceans absorb carbon dioxide, seawater becomes more acidic. Already a 30 percent increase has occurred. When oceans are acidified, seawater is depleted of compounds that organisms use to build shells and skeletons to armor themselves. Directly affected creatures include coral, crabs, sea stars, sea urchins. The effects, however, reverberate through the food web. Increase in water temperature exacerbates the problem and leads to the starvation of coral, a phenomenean known as coral bleaching.
Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse habitat on the planet and are often called “underwater rainforests.” In 2002, Conservation International collaborated with the IUCN to identify 11 world-wide marine hotspots, many of them reef systems, where planet biodiversity is under greatest threat.
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Last edited on Mon Aug 3rd, 2009 05:54 pm by sydneyst