Corals of Australia's Great Barrier Reef
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Acidic Ocean Water Impacts Corals and Other Marine Life
Even the clams and corals that live at the bottom of the sea are affected by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That’s because there’s a greenhouse gas that is getting into the ocean. Carbon dioxide gets into the air when we burn oil, coal, and gas. And it can become dissolved in seawater. This makes the oceans more acidic, which could spell trouble for ocean life because the mineral of their shells dissolves in acid.
Seawater has become only slightly more acidic over the past 150 years. It will get more acidic in the future, but very slowly. Even this small change can make a big difference for many different types of ocean life.
Scientists are very interested in learning more about how this will affect corals. Corals build large reefs that become a home for so many other animals. If corals can't grow the reef, then many animals might not be able to find a reef home.
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The Winter 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on Earth System science, including articles on student inquiry, differentiated instruction, geomorphic concepts, the rock cycle, and much more!
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