A new study on an array of marine animals shows that they all will suffer in different ways in the acidified oceans of coming decades. That means rising carbon dioxide levels will trigger some profound reshuffling of life in the seas as some species are more hurt than others.
Because some of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels is sucked up by the oceans, it causes sea water to gradually become more acidic. This ocean acidification, as it's called, is a separate consequence of humanity's unbridled carbon emissions, in addition to climate change.
VIDEO: The Ocean Is In Danger
There have been many reports about ocean acidification affecting marine organisms, but the severity of the threat to ocean ecosystems - and we humans who depend on them - is not at all well understood. In a new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change, Astrid C. Whittmann and Hans-O. Pörtner evaluate the scale of this threat by analyzing how sensitive animals are depending on which group they belong to: corals, echinoderms (e.g. sea urchins and star fish), molluscs (e.g. clams and snails), crustaceans (e.g. crabs and lobsters) and fishes.