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Ocean Acidification

pH Degradation of Ocean Water

Photo By Marek Okan @marekokon on Unsplash

“Ocean acidification — the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is turning the oceans increasingly acid- is a slow but accelerating impact with consequences that will greatly overshow all the oil spills put together. The warming trend that is CO2 — related will overshadow all the oil spills that have ever occurred put together”-Sylvia Earle

Burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial agriculture increase CO2, and heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide in our environment lead our planet to warm. Today, our environment is polluted due to human action. Ocean water polluted by business-as-usual-emission scenarios has resulted in increases in CO2 levels in our atmosphere.

When CO2 increases in the environment it results in decreases in the pH level of water, and then the ocean water becomes acidic. This type of ocean acidification affects the entire ocean, including coastal estuaries and waterways. Ocean acidification is one aspect of global climate change. It is observed that present ocean acidification occurs 10 times faster than the last 300 million years.

Ocean acidification occurs dues to absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere leads lower in pH of ocean water and ocean become acidic.This changes occur in ocean pole to pole.


According to the data, the ocean absorbs about 30% CO2 from the atmosphere. This absorption of CO2 in the ocean leads to acidification. It resulted in a change in seawater chemistry. Ocean acidification has a vast effect on calcifying creatures like corals, oysters, and snails.

When CO2 dissolves into the ocean, then chemical reaction occurs between ocean water and dissolving CO2 and the resultant formation of carbonic acid, this carbonic acid plays a role to decrease the pH of the ocean water, then ocean becomes acidic. Acidification shows a bad impact on both behavior and physiological effect on marine life.

Deadly trios

The complete set of three stressors i.e; heat, loss of oxygen, and acidity that resulted -temperature increase, oxygen decrease, and ocean acidification, increase this condition referred to as the Deadly trios. Interaction between these three stressors provides more severe effects than the sum of their individual’s impacts.

These Deadly trios in the form stressors lead to ocean acidification.

Microorganism Present In Ocean

In ocean water there are around 1 billion bacterial cells are present. It helps to balance the marine ecosystem. Microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protists are present in ocean water. They are present at the surface and in deep ocean water. Microorganisms use as food by other organisms such as fish and ocean mammals.

There are some examples of microorganisms that are present on ocean water are:

Bacteria: Silicibacter, Pelagibacter bacterium, Prochlorococcus

Archaea: Methanocaldococcus villosus

Viruses: Cynophage

Protists: Diatoms, Dinoflagellates, Radiolarians, Foraminifera

Microbes play an important role in the ocean food web through the microbial loop process.

Microbial Loop Process, this is a trophic pathway in the marine microbial food web where microorganisms recycle the waste of other microorganisms and loop both the resources and energy balance in that waste back into the food web.

Bacterial plays a crucial role in the global cycle. Bacteria help to release nutrients and elements that are necessary for the food chain and life.

Marine bacteria are also influenced by Ocean acidification. Researchers show that bacterial metabolism and bacterial power that dealing with the acid in the ocean water also be affected by the ocean acidification process.

“It is well known that the acidification of our oceans causes the degradation of Coral reefs and disturbs the production of the calcareous shells of important phytoplankton,” says Jorane Pinhassi, Professor in marine microbiology at Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden. “ However, it is new that also bacteria are affected negatively by Ocean acidification.”

The worst impact of Ocean acidification

  1. Shows effects on the food web of the ocean ecosystem
  2. Impacting on ocean species, effects on shells of oysters, corals, etc
  3. Increase the risk of inundation and erosion in low-lying areas
  4. Shell dissolution occurs in Pteropod due to a chemical reaction occurring between CO2 and ocean water
  5. Impact on the ability of larval clownfish
  6. Changes in species Growth and Reproduction
  7. Decrease natural shoreline protection
  8. Effect on the overall structure of the marine ecosystem
  9. Shows impact on industries like oyster farms
  10. Impact on many ocean-related benefits to society
  11. Due to increased ocean temperature and O2 loss act on climate and change in pressure on the marine environment
  12. Global warming causes the sea level to rise that accelerating flooding on coastal communities
  13. Hot spot lost
  14. Impact on DO ( Dissolved Oxygen) of ocean water that shrinking marine habitat
  15. Disruption in fisheries that effect in livelihoods and global food security

Benefits of Seaweeds in Oceans

Growing seaweeds can help to slow Ocean acidification because of seaweeds like algae and seagrasses may benefit to consume an excess of CO2 from ocean water that helps them for photosynthesis.

“Our biggest challenges for the ocean and the planet are problems of perception. People need to understand that species extinctions, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, and pollution all are chipping away at the resilience of the thin layer of life that sustains us on spaceship Earth”-Edith Widder

Now, its time to tackle this issue by delaying CO2 emissions, control on GHG (Green House Gases), and stabilization of both CO2 and GHG.


Carina Bunse, Daniel Lundin, Christofer M.G. Karlsson, Maria Vila-Costa, Joakim Palovaara, Neelam Akram, Lovisa Svenson, Karin Holmfeldt, Jose M. Gonzalez, Eva Calvo, Carles Pelejero, Celia Marrase, Mark Dopson, Josep M.Gasol, Jarone Pinhassi. The response of marine bacterioplankton pH homeostasis gene expression to elevated CO2. Nature climate change ,2016;DOI:10.1038/nclimate2914.

Daniel Hall Reviewed by Alyson Santoro and Sarah Laperriere, UC Santa Barbara, Marine Microbes, The Carvalho, the University of Hawaii at Manoa ( NIH)on

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Department of Commerce on

Originally published at on September 18, 2020.




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Kiranjeet Kaur

Kiranjeet Kaur

Biotechnologist,nature lover, social worker , Being optimistic, writer,Poet,interest in science and it's methodologies,

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