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Ocean Acidification, Term Paper Example

Pages: 21

Words: 5730

Term Paper

Abstract

This article is a literature review that discusses the topic of ocean acidification. It is mostly a general overview of the definition of ocean acidification, what contributes to ocean acidification, and how this problem has thusly affected our present day environment. There are also several studies on marine organisms that have been conducted and are explained in this review which give insight to the reader and add to the information provided to further enhance the view that ocean acidification is a problem in modern day society and is only becoming worse as the environment continues to degrade on an exponential level due to levels that are mostly within human control. Some of the research studies show that acidification is a problem increasing in exponential proportions on a yearly basis while yet other studies do not appear to show the problem as having a valid significant at this time. No matter, the literature review presents both sides of the situation and also touches upon other human factors that contribute to the acidification of our ocean waters. It also offers solutions as to how we may help control the problem.

Methodology

There were various sources used in the search for literature on this topic. An overview of ‘ocean acidification’ was performed on Google Scholar. This immediately produced a wide scale of articles about every aspect of oceans and acids. Thus, the field was narrowed quickly. The second database sought out was PubMed and a variety of informative articles on ocean acidification and its process was discovered there. Terms such as ‘ocean acidification’ and ‘decrease in carbon dioxide ocean levels’ were used. Also Excelsior was consulted for like articles and terms related to those already listed were used as well. The literature consulted contains explanations of ocean acidification, problems associated with the increase in acidification, a chemical basis to understand the process, and several studies that explain how this acidification harms the organisms that reside in the water. Most of the studies found actually prove that the problem of ocean acidification is something we, as a society, should be concerned about now and not wait on for the future due to the exponential dangers occurring in the ocean and coastal areas and thusly affecting the marine life therein. There were scant articles that were inconclusive to ocean acidification or did not prove that this was a problem to be concerned with at the present time and an example of the information is presented in this article as well. Also, it is important to mention that while performing the literature search, there were articles explaining the human impact of littering and overfishing as well as the environmental impact of global warming and the overuse of fossil fuels. All of that information will briefly be discussed as well.

Literature Review

The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air currently is approximately 40% higher than pre-industrial levels because of a combination of deforestation and fossil-fuel combustion, both caused by humans (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009;Foret, Kassahn, Grasso, Hayward, & Iguchi, 2007). It is also estimated that the amount of CO2  levels could actually double or triple the historical levels that have been witnessed thus far. An estimated one-third of the excess carbon dioxide that is excreted by humans is released into the ocean and goes on to lower the pH of seawater, carbonate ion concentration, and the state of calcium carbonate saturation minerals (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009; Joint, Doney, & Karl, 2011). There are also marine biological groups that form shells or exoskeletons from the calcium carbonate excrements. Some of these are tropical and cold-water corals, echinoderms, mollusks, crustaceans, and zooplankton.

General Information About Acidification

There is about 30% of the carbon dioxide that is accidentally released into the air due to human activities absorbed into the oceans (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009; Munday, et al., 2010). This reacts with the water to form carbonic acid and causes a decrease in pH and a shift in the balance of carbonate and bicarbonate in the water. The shift is also known as acidification. Increased levels of carbon dioxide that have dissolved do not only acidify the ocean. They also decrease the pH of animal tissue and, when exposed to increased levels of carbon dioxide, many of the organisms they come into contact with can no longer regulate their acid-base balance due to the intra and extracellular bicarbonate buffering and active transport of ions (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009; Munday, et al., 2010). These mechanisms are only a few of those that could have long term consequences for the individual performance of oceans and ecology in general due to their energy expenditure and because they effect the other functions of various physiological processes of surrounding organisms (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009; Munday, et al., 2010).

There is also concern that continued increases in the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the course of the next century could have a significant impact on a wide selection of marine species and not simply those with calcified skeletons (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009;Orrenius, Zhivotovsky, & Nicotera, 2003). Although the compensatory mechanisms that animals and other organisms undergo are not detrimental to them in the short term, they will have physiological consequences, especially for those stages of life that have a high demand for increased metabolism and energy. Even though ocean acidification could cause a reduction in individual performance because of the effects of hypercapnia and a decreased pH on the cellular function, there was a study that found the rainbow trout, when exposed to water treated with an acid had an increase in growth rates and an increase in energy conversion efficiency than fish in the control group (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009; Orrenius, Zhivotovsky, & Nicotera, 2003).

Oceanic Response to Acidification

In an ocean which has undergone acidification, the microbial community responds by reducing the seawater pH and elevating the carbon dioxide levels as well as acting as a positive or negative feedback to the continuation of the carbon and nitrogen cycles (Beman, et al., 2011). In addition to this, they also carry out biogeochemical processes such as the changes in the oxidation state of nitrogen that is available to other organisms from a decrease in ammonium to oxidized nitrate (Beman, et al., 2011). The nitrification subsequently supplies the oxidized electrons and feeds all of the oxidized nitrates in the ocean. This oceanic nitrification also has a direct climate feedback component because of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and there is eminently an effect in the seawater pH and carbon dioxide levels (Beman, et al., 2011).

Due to the fact that the two steps of nitrification are caused by groups of ammonia and nitrite oxidizers that are chemoautotrophic and also convert inorganic carbon into biomasses, the nitrifiers can exhibit a carbon dioxide fertilization effect because of the under saturation of the carboxylase oxidase at the present day concentrations (Beman, et al., 2011;Shi, Xu, Hopkinson, & Morel, 2010). There are cultivated strains of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria that have reduced their sensitivity to changes in the partial carbon dioxide levels and ammonia-oxidizing archaea that use a different carbon fixation pathway (Beman, et al., 2011; Shi, Xu, Hopkinson, & Morel, 2010). The newer pathway appears to be more favorable when compared energetically to the older pathway.

Current Research

Beman et al. (2011) also explained a research study by speaking of the competition for ammonia with other organisms. They stated that basically the competition was more successful if the conditions were such that the pH level was low and the partial carbon dioxide levels were high. They believed it could also have an effect on nitrification rates, but there has been a scant amount of evidence to prove this hypothesis. There was one other such study used by Horz et. al which gave credit to the reduction of abundances in California grasslands that were exposed to elevated carbon dioxide levels to an unsuccessful competition with heterotrophic bacteria for ammonia (Beman, et al., 2011). In the SPOT experiment performed, however, the data collected suggested there was no systematic stimulation of heterotrophic growth. Upon five days of incubation, there was no significant difference in bacterial production among treatments for all time factors. The incorporation was actually higher in the decreased pH treatment compared to an increased pH treatment, but neither of the two was significantly different from the control group and the thymidine incorporation was quite variable over the duration of the incubation (Beman, et al., 2011). Actually production was not through a release of organic carbon because the two treatments were exposed to a bubbling method used to equalize seawater and these were quite different from one another but not the controls. Therefore, this study showed it was unlikely that phytoplankton competed for ammonia and is one such study that does not indicate problems caused by ocean acidification (Beman, et al., 2011).

There is an effort for research on ocean acidification that appears to be growing at an exponential rate. This has resulted in a number of recent advances. Across the globe, the pH has decreased an estimated 0.1 pH units from the period of pre-industry to the present day and there is also an estimated further decrease of 0.3 to 0.4 pH units which could possibly occur by the year 2100 (Sunday, Crim, Harley, & Hart, 2011). With that being said, however, it is important to note that ocean circulation and feedbacks in climate change place a key role in certain regions and when one is debating the various cold water corals and subsurface ecosystems (Sunday, Crim, Harley, & Hart, 2011).

In one study, larval clownfish were exposed to increased levels of carbon dioxide and were unable to distinguish olfactory senses suitable to live in an adult environment or understand when a predator was nearby (Cripps, Munday, & McCormick, 2011). This impairment of predator recognition is a problem due to a potentially increased mortality rate of younger clownfish and will most likely have implications for the population propagation and ecosystem diversity. While predators are vital for the maintenance of ecosystem communities and structure, there is a need for balance of both classifications and one type does not need to overtake the other. Especially on coral reefs, predation is highly significant and has an impact on the lives of younger fish (Cripps, Munday, & McCormick, 2011).

During laboratory incubation studies, several of these organisms have shown decreased calcification and other negative effects when exposed to increased carbon dioxide levels compared to what is expected to happen over the course of the next several decades. The tropical coral reefs may be especially sensitive to ocean acidification in relation to global warming, pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009). Other marine ecosystems could also experience impacts from the direct effects on their populations that could be susceptible, the food-web interactions that are not directly affected, and the alteration of biogeochemical cycling (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009).

An uncertainty also exists about the importance of fishing and pollution in regards to global changes in the climate and the chemical balance of the ocean. The trophic structure and biodiversity are vital components to future generations and we are now only able to understand the long term implications of what changes in the chemical composition will do to the general areas and regions (Jackson, 2008). The issues are diverse due to the plethora of species involved and the nonlinear dynamics of interactions amongst them. While there has been an emergence of new data during the past decade, much of it has been conflicting and the data needs to be standard in some aspect if we are going to help the ecology of the oceans (Jackson, 2008). Regardless of these uncertainties, however, it is important for us to take a closer look at acidification and the livelihood of the inhabitants of our coastal areas and waters (Jackson, 2008).

There are also new studies that suggest acidification of the ocean could become a vital problem much earlier than anticipated in some regions of the ocean. The coastal waters that are rising along the west coast of North America have already begun to lack the proper saturation for the mineral aragonite, which is used by corals and mollusks (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009). Also, several corrosive conditions are generally projected for the Arctic and Southern Oceans within the next few decades.

Some research on the biological impacts of ocean acidification have been chosen in part because of the possibility of the injection of carbon dioxide into the ocean as a sequestration strategy and various aspects of this research examined effects of large pH perturbations. An increasing amount of experiments performed in the laboratory includes more simple chemistry formulas that are representative of the various ecological and environmental conditions predicted to happen during the course of this century. These various studies confirm earlier studies that produced results which showed the reduction and calcification with an increase in carbon dioxide and a decreased calcium carbonate saturation state for tropical corals, mollusks, and crustose coralline algae (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009).

Experiments performed in tanks using tropical corals and CCA have suggested a synergistic effect between the warming and elevation of carbon dioxide, thus causing an increased sensitivity to leaching (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009). Some higher organisms may be able to compensate for increased levels of carbon dioxide, but at a much more considerable metabolic cost. Various photosynthetic organisms could possibly benefit from elevated aqueous carbon dioxide and surface temperatures of the sea, such as a common cyanobacteria referred to as Synechococcus (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009). The alleviation of carbon dioxide could possible enhance the fixation of nitrogen and planktonic carbon to nitrogen elemental ratios, thereby changing the biogeochemistry of the ocean (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009).

The surface level saturation of calcium carbonate is decreased in the eastern tropical Pacific due to increases in the carbon dioxide rich water, thus causing in poorly rooted coral reefs with increased rates of erosion (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009). The cores from several hundred massive Porites colonies on the Great Barrier Reef have suggested a 14% rate of reduction in clarification since 1990, which was an unprecedented event in the course of the past 400 years that could reflect warming and acidification (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009).

Various numerical models have suggested that reefs could stop growing or possibly show a dissolution when the atmospheric carbon dioxide level reaches 560 ppm, which is estimated to possibly occur during the mid to latter part of this century (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009). One experimental study indicates that acidification and the expanse of oxygen-minimum zones could possibly reduce metabolism in giant squid. In another such study, there are is a tie between a lower pH level with a decrease in frequency sound absorptions and a noisy undersea environment, which could also affect the communication of marine mammals. The reduction in saltwater pH also appears to disrupt the sense of smell in various larval fish (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009).

There are measurements required to correctly document the evolution of the included target populations, such as susceptible mollusks, pteropods, tropical, and cold-water coral reefs. Currently, there are methods in development for chemical sensors that will measure the concentration of carbonate ions and other properties of the seawater carbonate system (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009). There are observational systems which combine ship data and satellite data that have emerged to record the state of surface-ocean carbonate saturation. A similar development is also required for biological processes.

Various remote sensing algorithms performed via satellite have the ability to characterize the patterns and rates of calcification over time. There are mitigation strategies that have been proposed for addressing ocean acidification including adding alkalinity to the surface waters from limestone dust or the acceleration of volcanic rock weathering via artificial means, but these are not cost effective (Doney, The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life, 2009).

One study was conducted due to the fact there was a question as to whether natural phenomena, such as an acidic river, could affect the coastal chemistry on a broad spectrum and thusly the organisms that spawned there (Salisbury, Green, Hunt, & Campbell, 2008). This was conducted in Maine and the subject was the shellfish industry. The experiment investigated a species of clam in the western Gulf of Maine which normally spans when the temperatures in the ocean reach around ten degrees Celsius and there is normally a planktonic stage of approximately 21 days where the organism is freely floating in the water (Salisbury, Green, Hunt, & Campbell, 2008). It is during this particular state that the ability to use aragonite directly from the seawater is vital for the larvae to survive this process. The aragonite causes a higher rate of calcification and helps with the growth and movement from the planktonic stage into the next stage of life. Due to the fact that the early spawn sometimes happens during high levels of river surge in the spring, the larvae were unable to use the aragonite from the seawater in significant levels to progress to the next level of development (Salisbury, Green, Hunt, & Campbell, 2008). This question led to another question of whether or not these conditions occur during periods of higher river discharge in the western Gulf of Maine. This question was examined by using plumes in the Kennebec River. Observations similar to those conducted in the first stage of experiments were taken and the episodes corresponded to the events that happened in the eastern Gulf of Maine (Salisbury, Green, Hunt, & Campbell, 2008).

Although many studies have shown that acidification of the ocean can affect calcifying organisms, there has been little shown in the area of marine fishing and other non-calcifying animals as to how they will respond to the levels of carbon dioxide and sea water pH that could occur in the future (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009). Most experts predict that ocean acidification can affect the performance of individual growth during the early life span. The maximum performance of larvae was actually unaffected by the acidification of carbon dioxide in one study (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009). This is an important finding because it shows that the future levels of ocean acidification may not have a significant impact on all of the organisms as previously thought, albeit it will affect many of them. In the experiments, the duration of embryonic stage, egg survival and size at hatching all were unaffected by the acidification with carbon dioxide (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009). There was a small decline in yolk size, but the effect size was small and the experiments at a higher level of carbon dioxide found no reduction still in the yolk area (Munday, Donelson, Dixson, & Endo, 2009).

There are several sensory systems that are used in the feeding process of predators which include the searching, detection, capture and ingestion. The predators are reliant on chemical and visual cues in order to detect their prey. Their visual cues can possibly be limited if the environments are too complex, if they are turbid from sediment or low light conditions, or if the solvent properties of the water and the high persistence of chemicals cause problems with the olfactory senses (Cripps, Munday, & McCormick, 2011). While there have been evaluations on the response of prey species to ocean acidification, there has not been much research on the predatory response to the same. Therefore, a study was conducted to investigate how the acidification of the ocean affected predators (Cripps, Munday, & McCormick, 2011). There were issues with the predators because of turbidity and olfactory senses and this will potentially become a problem as the ocean becomes more acidified over the course of the years (Cripps, Munday, & McCormick, 2011).

The degradation of the fishing community and the destruction of our habitat accompanied by the introduction of new species and reinforcement of eutrophication acts as catalysts on one another through positive feedback (Jackson, 2008). One example is the oyster species. They were almost eliminated due to overfishing, but the recovery of the species is now problematic due to hypoxia and eutrophication caused by competition of other species for space and also by the introduction of new diseases that threaten the species (Jackson, 2008).

Other Issues Causing Acidification

Climate change may also cause a shift in the time frame and intensity of events such as dense shelf water cascading. This could affect the local fisheries and also the transport of fish and litter to the deep margin and basins of the water (Ramirez-Llorda, et al., 2011). The amount of litter like plastics and metals will affect organisms by suffocating them and thus causing them to die of starvation or asphyxiation or it could also cause an accumulation of toxic elements in their bodies and this would disrupt bodily processes which would also lead to mortality. The correct disposal of water sewage will add to any effects of hypoxia and increased saturation of nutrients and byproducts related to the change in oceanic pH balance and overall climate change (Ramirez-Llorda, et al., 2011). Human problems, such as oil spills or shipwrecks will cause litter to form around the sites and this will also increase the possibilities of suffocation and nutrient toxicity. Likewise, deep water trawling on corals will damage communities that have become structures of the oceanic environment and this will become even more devastating in the midst of more evident climate change. The acidification of the ocean will most likely slow the growth of cytoskeletons and exoskeletons of organisms and this would result in weaker skeletons and shorter life spans for all affected organisms (Ramirez-Llorda, et al., 2011).

Humans are consistently altering the amounts of global nitrogen and sulfur found in the environment on a daily basis and this has caused a large increase in nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere (Doney, et al., 2007). The fossil fuel combustion and massive burning of nitrogen oxides also exceed the natural fluxes from the land to the atmosphere. Ammonia fluxes in the atmosphere are insufficient to account for human activities, usually livestock production, and the oxidized sulfur fluxes from the land are ten times that of natural fluxes due to yet another combination of fossil fuels and biomass burning (Doney, et al., 2007). After the transformation of chemicals in the atmosphere, most of the nitrogen and sulfur is deposited on the surface of as nitric acid and sulfuric acid, both of which are strong and dissociate in water (Doney, et al., 2007).

Because of the short lifetime of reactive nitrogen and sulfur in the atmosphere, the majority of the acid deposition, as previously stated, occurs on land, in the coastal ocean, and in the open ocean close to North America, Europe and South and East Asia (Doney, et al., 2007). Add this with the acidification of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems due to the dry deposition and increased acidic rainfall and it spells environmental disaster. The anthropogenic nitrogen and sulfur deposition to the surface of the ocean also alters the surface seawater chemistry, leading to strong acidification and reduced alkalization (Doney, et al., 2007). This is a concern for organisms that form calcareous shells such as corals, coralline algae, foraminifera, and coccolithophores. The acidification effects could be atrocious in the coastal ocean regions because these regions are already susceptible due to other impacts caused by humans, such as fertilization of nutrients, various pollutions, too much fishing, and climate change (Doney, et al., 2007).

It is quite possible that the cytoskeletal actin in increased carbon dioxide conditions can reflect a change in the regulation of gene transcription of proteins that are involved in various cytoskeletal interactions (Kaniewska, et al., 2012). Also, this down regulation can cause changes in the intracellular transport, plasma membrane interactions of organisms, and the cell shape and integrity of the organisms. The down regulation of coatomer epsilon suggests that changes in the proteins between the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi complex have a relationship with events that control polarity of the cells (Kaniewska, et al., 2012). This has been recorded in other marine organisms such as crabs and some corals. It is because of the changes in the chemistry of the water that these polarity events are allowed to occur and the occurrences are causing increased stress on the organisms (Kaniewska, et al., 2012).

Also, another important aspect to consider in climate change is global warming. This actually could have a part in the development of ocean acidification. The rising temperatures of the environment could possibly reduce the physicochemical dissolution capacity of calcium carbonate in seawater and thus decrease the bioerosion of certain chemicals (Wisshak, Schonberg, Form, & Freiwald, 2012). Although, there are tolerance limits to take into account and all of these chemical processes may be increased by the elevation of temperature and the interaction of partial carbon dioxide. Both of these have actually been demonstrated in regards to the calcification rates of coral (Wisshak, Schonberg, Form, & Freiwald, 2012).

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is predicted for this generation cause two challenges for coral reefs and other like organisms (Anthony, Kline, Diaz-Pulido, Dove, & Hoegh-Guldberg, 2008). First, the increase in sea surface temperatures that are associated with the increase in carbon dioxide will cause an increase in the frequency and severity of coral bleaching events which are large scale disintegrations of the symbiosis of coral and dinoflagellate systems. This will have negative consequences for the survival, growth, and reproduction of coral and like organisms (Anthony, Kline, Diaz-Pulido, Dove, & Hoegh-Guldberg, 2008). Second, about 30% of the carbon dioxide that is released into the air due to human activities is absorbed into the ocean and this decreased the pH of surface waters to levels that will most likely compromise or completely prevent calcium carbonate accretion by coral reefs and like organisms, calcifying algae, and other marine life (Anthony, Kline, Diaz-Pulido, Dove, & Hoegh-Guldberg, 2008).

The research on ocean acidification has mainly sought to explore the consequences of a shift in the ocean chemistry to more suboptimal saturation states of the aragonite and calcite levels and how these levels will affect the calcification processes of various organisms in the pelagic and benthic environments (Anthony, Kline, Diaz-Pulido, Dove, & Hoegh-Guldberg, 2008). Prior research has shown the dissipation of coral skeletons and decreased rates of reef calcification with an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide (Anthony, Kline, Diaz-Pulido, Dove, & Hoegh-Guldberg, 2008). Ocean acidification is also likely to have an impact on several other physiological activities in the building of reef species, but there is little to be known about the responses and the consequences therein (Anthony, Kline, Diaz-Pulido, Dove, & Hoegh-Guldberg, 2008).

The understanding that we have of the biological responses to carbon dioxide induced changes in seawater carbonate is still in its very beginning stages and has a length way to go before the mechanisms are fully understood (Riebesell, Kortzinger, & Oschlies, 2009). As more research on the acidification of the ocean is obtained, there will be new and unprecedented pH and carbon dioxide sensitivities that emerge which have not been seen before and have great impacts on the sequestration in the ocean. The reduction in pelagic calcification and the subsequent reduction in the strength of a carbonate pump will also lower the alkalinity in the surface layer of the water, thus increasing the uptake capacity for more atmospheric carbon dioxide on the surface layer of coastal waters (Riebesell, Kortzinger, & Oschlies, 2009). The sensitivity of this subsequent response, however, in the coccolithophores species appears to be quite dependent on several variables and this will allow for changes in the composition of the species in order for adaptation and possible elimination of boundaries that would prevent obstruction of growth.

Due to a lack of quality information on the sensitivities of pH on the foraminifera and pteropods, however, it is quite early to predict the importance of such an evolutionary process. Calcium carbonate may act as ballast in various particle aggregates, thus accelerating the flux of particulate material to various depths (Riebesell, Kortzinger, & Oschlies, 2009). Reduced calcium carbonate production also could act as ballast and slow down the vertical flux of biogenic matter in terms of the depth, remineralization shoaling, amount of carbon found in the organic system, and the decrease in carbon sequestration (Riebesell, Kortzinger, & Oschlies, 2009). The capacity of this feedback system depends on the sensitivity of the pH of pelagic calcifiers and the quantitative importance of calcium carbonate as ballast for the export of particles, both of which are quite poorly understood in this day and age (Riebesell, Kortzinger, & Oschlies, 2009).

Conclusions

As we have presented, ocean acidification has caused problems not only to our oceans, but to our general society as well. Its effects are eventually going to move further inland and impact industries such as fishing and other produce related areas. There could also be implications with tourism and economics as the coral reefs continue to disappear and be replaced with other types of life forms due to the inability of the reefs withstanding the environment of the newer pH levels. While humans are not completely to blame, we do play a large part in the problem and can have a large part in the solution.

As for the problem, it was stated that overfishing and litter from the environment and other wreckage helped cause the acid-base balance that maladjusted the waters to some extent. We can ensure this is kept under control by controlling the fishing practices through certain restrictions on what kinds of marine life are available during what seasons and we can also impose larger fines on poachers when they do not adhere to the laws or regulations. This is not to say that the government should have control over the oceans and the entire environment. There should, however, be some system or form of checks and balances that ensure the ocean will survive mostly unharmed for as long as possible.

We, as a society, can also do our best with the control of global warming by the conservation of fossil fuels. This does not mean we become over-advocates of the ‘green’ movement; however, even a bit of proper conservation will go a lengthy way in helping sustain the environment and reducing the effects of global warming. Thusly, this will improve the situation and the trickle effect will be felt as far as the bottom of the ocean.

Science and the ecological community have much to gain in the subject of ocean acidification. It was stated earlier that many of these experiments were still in their infancy. With regards to the subject matter and with more time and resources there will likely be more advocacies for the promotion of a cleaner ocean environment than ever before and scientists will have the ability to focus on what is needed to ensure that this will happen. This author’s personal estimate is that within the next decade there will be several technological advances which help to further the knowledge base regarding ocean acidification, global warming, and the environment overall. It will be helpful to us when we attempt to find ways to curb our usage of toxic chemicals and adapt as well as invent new ways and methods for performing the same tasks but doing so without harming the environment.

References

Anthony, K., Kline, D., Diaz-Pulido, G., Dove, S., & Hoegh-Guldberg, O. (2008). Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders. PNAS, 105(45), 17442-17446.

Beman, J., Chow, C., King, A., Feng, Y., Fuhrman, J., Andersson, A., . . . Hutchins, D. (2011). Global declines in oceanic nitrification rates as a consequence of ocean acidification. PNAS, 108(1), 208-213.

Cripps, I., Munday, P., & McCormick, P. (2011). Ocean acidification affects prey detection by a predatory reef fish. PLoS One, 6(7), e22726.

Doney, S. (2009). The consequences of human-driven ocean acidification for marine life. Biology Reports, 1, 36-39.

Doney, S., Mahowald, N., Lima, I., Feely, R., Mackenzie, F., Lamarque, J., & Rasch, P. (2007). Impact of anthropogenic atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur deposition on ocean acidification and the inorganic carbon system. PNAS, 104(37), 14580-14585.

Foret, S., Kassahn, K., Grasso, L., Hayward, D., & Iguchi, A. (2007). Genomic and microarray approaches to coral reef conservation biology. Coral Reefs, 26, 475-486.

Hutchins, D., Mulholland, M., & Fu, F. (2009). Nutrient cycles and marine microbes in a CO2-enriched ocean. Oceanography, 22, 128-145.

Jackson, J. (2008). Ecological extinction and evolution in the brave new ocean. PNAS, 105(8), 11458-11465.

Joint, I., Doney, S., & Karl, D. (2011). Will ocean acidification affect marine microbes? The ISME Journal, 5, 1-7.

Kaniewska, P., Campbell, P., Kline, D., Rodriguez-Lanetty, M., Miller, D., Dove, S., & Hoegh-Guldberg, O. (2012). Major cellular and physiological impacts of ocean acidification on a reef building coral. PLoS One, 7(4), e34659.

Munday, P., Dixson, D., McCormick, M., Meekan, M., Ferrari, M., & Chivers, D. (2010). Replenishment of fish populations is threatened by ocean acidification. PNAS, 107(29), 12930-12934.

Munday, P., Donelson, J., Dixson, D., & Endo, G. (2009). Effects of ocean acidification on the early life history of a marine fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 276, 3275-3283.

Orrenius, S., Zhivotovsky, B., & Nicotera, B. (2003). Regulation of cell death: The calcium-apoptosis link. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology(4), 552-565.

Ramirez-Llorda, E., Tyler, P., Baker, M., Bergstad, O., Clark, M., Escobar, E., . . . Menot, L. (2011). Man and the last great wilderness: Human impact on the deep sea. PLoS One, 6(7), e22588.

Riebesell, U., Kortzinger, A., & Oschlies, A. (2009). Sensitivities of marine carbon fluxes to ocean change. PNAS, 106(49), 20602-20609.

Salisbury, J., Green, M., Hunt, C., & Campbell, J. (2008). Coastal acidification by rivers: A threat to shellfish? Eos, 89, 513-528.

Shi, D., Xu, Y., Hopkinson, B., & Morel, F. (2010). Effect of ocean acidification on iron availability to marine phytoplankton. Science, 327, 676-679.

Sunday, J., Crim, R., Harley, C., & Hart, M. (2011). Quantifying rates of evolutionary adaptation in response to ocean acidification. PLoS One, 6(8), e22881.

Wisshak, M., Schonberg, C., Form, A., & Freiwald, A. (2012). Ocean acidification accelerates reef bioerosion. PLoS One, 7(9), e45124.

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