Investigation 9

October 29, 2016

SMC B206

Mr. Caswell

Investigation 9

          According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the acidification

of the ocean due to CO2 emissions threaten to decrease the number of species which

contribute towards ecosystems all over the world. The emissions largely come from

humans using fossil fuel and certain processes for industries. It is said that not many

species will be able to overcome the obstacle of CO2 emissions which continue to rise. The

only species which is thought will keep growing in number despite the emissions are

microorganisms. With big desires for food in the ocean, but less regular fishes for the

carnivorous fish, the ocean’s food chain will have collapsing.

          According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, oceans have

been, for the past two centuries, absorbing over 100 billion metric tons of carbon which

have come about from actions by humans. Basically, for every person on Earth, there are

15 pounds of carbon. Despite the ocean’s environment having been rather stable for

dozens of millions of years, it has only been in the last billion years or so that

concentrations of CO2 have been getting higher than they ever were before.

          It is hoped that the ocean emissions will decrease someday. Although there is not

much known as to as to how exactly ocean acidification works, it is known that the health

of humans are at risk as well, not just marine life. This is because the toxins from the

acidification can affect marine life that humans eat. A 2015 nationwide study revealed that

areas which had be particularly affected by ocean acidification included the Pacific

Northwest, areas near the northeastern United States, and the Gulf of Mexico. Of

particular note are the areas near Alaska, the state responsible for more than half of the

fish sold in the United States, along with the thousands of jobs entailed with that.

          Regarding coral, the structures in the Caribbean and North Sea have been weakened

by the acidification. In particular, the Great Barrier Reef seems to have sustained the most

damage, as more than 50% of the corals which are alive have decreased over the past 30

years. This means that there is less shelter for fish in the Great Barrier Reef region, as well

as the toughness of the reef itself. Having CO2 emissions be this far down south means

that not only is marine life being affected near South America, but also near the Antarctic.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2016, April 1). Ocean acidification: A wake-up call in our waters. Retrieved from dangerous-waters-ahead (2015, October 12). Global marine analysis suggests food chain collapse. Retrieved from

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016, August 9). Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. Retrieved from

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