Monday, November 05, 2007

Mussels, oysters, and clams to dissolve by 2100?

Acid oceans may be corrosive enough to dissolve the shells of mussels, oysters, and clams in some areas by 2100. This truly scary news sounds like Chicken Little at her worst, but this warning comes from scientist Carol Turley, from Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

OK, this ocean acidification scare is getting serious now. Dissolving shellfish shells? Really?

What you may not know is that building a calcium carbonate shell can be difficult in the ocean below the carbonate compensation depth, since calcium carbonate tends to dissolve in seawater.

Fortunately for shellfish lovers, the compensation depth is currently in deep water everywhere. But rising CO2 has already influenced carbonate compensation and it will get worse in the future. It is now a realistic concern that animals with carbonate shells may see their shells dissolve in shallow water in the future.

Ouch, sounds like that would hurt.

Hat tip: Jeremy Jacquot at

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