Rising Greenhouse Gases Profoundly Impact Microscopic Marine Life
Source: The University of California, Merced
December 20, 2010
The prolonged, extensive emission of greenhouse gases over the next several decades could have significant impacts on ocean life, according to a study by UC Merced marine biologist Michael Beman.
Increases in carbon dioxide emissions—exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities—are making ocean water more acidic, and Beman's study shows that the increased acidity will fundamentally alter the way nitrogen cycles throughout the sea.
Because nitrogen is an important nutrient for all organisms, this could ultimately have significant impacts for all forms of marine life.
"There is growing concern about this issue because human activities are modifying ocean pH so rapidly," Beman said. "While we do not know what the full effects of changing the nitrogen cycle will be, we performed experiments all over the world and believe that these changes will be global in extent."
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