To the editor:
Scientists may not have enough evidence yet to prove that ocean acidification in causing weaker lobster shells ("Lobster shellshock," May 13); but, plenty of evidence demonstrates the dire effects of warmer oceans and acidification on other marine organisms – shellfish, reef-building corals, small crustaceans, fish larvae, starfish, sea urchins and calcareous plankton. Oceans have become 30 percent more acidic since the start of the Industrial Revolution; as a consequence, shelled animals are having increasing difficulty growing healthy shells.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef provides a dismal example: a jewel of the earth’s biodiversity stretching 1,400 miles and the home of countless invertebrates and fish, it may not survive much longer; as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, half of the coral died in 2016 and 2017. Tragically, scientists predict that on our current path ocean warming and acidification will kill 90 percent of the world’s corals by 2050.
The small organisms under direct threat comprise much of the food chain on which larger fish and sea mammals depend. Over a billion people depend on life in the sea for their protein, and climate change is driving marine food webs to the brink of collapse. To limit the damage we must stop spewing greenhouse gases into our air and water.
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