Ocean Acidification Could Disrupt Marine Food Chains

Ocean acidification caused by climate change is making it harder for shellfish to grow their shells, according to a report on HuffingtonPost.com.

A thinning of the protective cases of mussels, oysters, lobsters and crabs is likely to disrupt marine food chains by making the creatures more vulnerable to predators, which could reduce human sources of seafood.

Human emissions of greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, and some of that carbon dioxide ends up in the oceans, where it dissolves to form acid. The ocean acidification makes it harder for creatures to extract calcium carbonate — vital to grow skeletons and shells — especially from chill waters in the Arctic Ocean and around Antarctica, according to a study in the journal Global Change Biology.

Scientists say changes under way in the cold waters of the polar regions were likely to be a sign of what to expect in the future in temperate zones and the tropics.

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