Krill in the Antarctic Ocean under threat from ocean acidification

The Guardian reports 10th July 2013:”Krill is the backbone of the food web in the Antarctic and is the key food for penguins, seals, fish and whales… [and] between a third and a quarter of carbon dioxide that comes from burning fossil fuels is absorbed by the oceans.

“A new study, carried out by scientists at the Australian Government’s Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), has found that once levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean reach about 1250 microatmopsheres, the numbers of krill eggs successfully hatching starts to decline dramatically. Some of the areas for krill already reach 550 microatmospheres.

“AAD marine biologist Rob King, one of the co-authors of the study said: ‘If you want to minimise the chances of major ecosystem disruption then this study shows that emissions would need to be moderated from the current trajectory. Antarctica is an unusual ecosystem because this species – the krill – is responsible for passing on so much primary production to higher predators, including fish, whales, seals and penguins.’

Source: The Guardian, 10th July 2013. For the full text of this article, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/planet-oz/2013/jul/10/krill-antarctica-study-ocean-acidification-climate


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