New threat from ocean acidification emerges in the Southern Ocean
The oceans covering our Earth serve as the carbon sink for the planet. Till date, they have managed to absorb as much as 40 percent of the carbon emissions released due to anthropogenesis. A major section of this CO2 emission has been absorbed by the oceans towards the Southern periphery of the globe. This has led to a major instance of ocean acidification, also known as OA.
Dr. katherina Petrou, the lead author for the study which was published over popular science journal named Nature Climate Change, mentioned that even though the changes seen in the pH level of the ocean indicates that marine organisms have been under pressure from calcification, the consequences for the non-calcifying form of marine phytoplankton is less clear.
She further added that previous studies have reported multiple responses for the OA. However, it is rarely considered how the pH shift in the environment impacts the silicification rates for diatoms. The diatoms are a unique form of phytoplanktons as they need the silicic acid for production of silica cell based walls. When observed under microscope, they seem like beautiful jewellery boxes made of glass. However, they are an important transportation conduit for the carbon that goes into the deeper parts of the ocean.