‘Black box’ of plankton fix oceans’ carbon

One thought on “‘Black box’ of plankton fix oceans’ carbon”

  1. Another good story during the week on Catalyst was a segment on another tiny ocean dweller, the pteropods.

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2886137.htm

    Excerpts:

    “Dr Donna Roberts
    There are millions and billions of tonnes of pteropods in the Southern Ocean and in some regions, particularly the Ross Sea area, there is more pteropods per cubic metre than krill”

    NARRATION
    When CO2 dissolves, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid and carbonate ions, which decreases the pH. Aragonite is more soluble, so any change in pH will affect the growth of aragonite shells first.

    Dr Donna Roberts
    Now, aragonite is actually in the shells of pteropods and in corals. So corals and pteropods are going to be at risk first if the ocean health and the ocean chemistry changes and it’s changing because we’re putting carbon dioxide into the water.

    NARRATION
    That means the pteropods of the Southern Ocean, and the food chains they underpin, may be living on borrowed time. Donna can calculate the CO2 levels when they’ll basically run out of shell.

    Dr Donna Roberts
    The tipping point for pteropods in the southern ocean is four hundred and fifty parts per million and we are currently at three hundred and eighty eight so we’re heading there rapidly and we, we think from models that we’re going to get there in about the winter of 2030.

    Also from the same episode, Antarctic Glaciers:

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2886106.htm

    Interviews with various experts:

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/antarctica/

    Like

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