Although climate change garners the bulk of headlines, ocean acidification is an equally important issue that also results from our increasing consumption of fossil fuels. As atmospheric CO2 dissolves into the ocean, the ocean's pH decreases, making it increasingly difficult for organisms that build calcium carbonate skeletons to grow and thrive. Given that these marine calcifiers – such as corals, snails, shellfish, crustaceans, and plankton – often form the base of oceanic food webs and are habitat and food resources for larger oceanic plants and animals (including humans), ocean acidification poses a serious threat. In this article, we present a series of investigations that provide evidence that increases in anthropogenic sources of CO2 contribute to the acidification of the ocean, and that an increasingly acidic ocean can negatively impact marine calcifiers.
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Vol. 83 • No. 4