A new study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just discovered that the Pacific Ocean is so acidic that it is literally dissolving the shells off of crab larvae. This was actually expected, but it is a major problem and it is happening much earlier than researchers feared it would. Our oceans absorb 30% of all the carbon dioxide that is released into the air. When the levels of the CO2 in the air increase, so do the levels of the CO2 in the ocean, and this is how our oceans become acidic.
NOAA researches discovered the acidification of the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of the US is increasing much quicker than the rest of the world. And the results of the study show that the acidity of the water has become so high that it actually dissolves the shells of the newly hatched sleeper crabs, which damages their sensory organs. These poor babies will not be able to defend themselves against predators and will have a loss of orientation due to the loss of their sensory organs. They will also have difficulty moving around.
It’s just crabs, you may think, but if the ocean is so acidic that it is dissolving crab shells and we don’t do anything to stop it, then imagine over time what effects it may have on your skin if you decided to go for a swim. A lot of people eat crabs, so this will affect several parts of the seafood industry in a negative way as well. The cost of crab will go up.
With a lower pH in the oceans waters, there will be an overgrowth of algae, which will create a harder time for crustaceans and corals to form a solid shell, simply because they need the carbonate ions which are not abundant in acidic waters. Oysters, clams, and plankton also need these ions to survive.
NOAA believes that in order to reduce the acidity in the ocean, we need to reduce our carbon footprint — this is the only way we can slow down the increase in ocean acidification.