How will ocean acidification affect marine photosynthetic organisms? A review
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Atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing year on year, mainly as a result of burning fossil fuels. Although carbon dioxide dissolves in the oceans, mitigating atmospheric effects, it does result in a reduction of the alkalinity of sea water; an effect termed Ocean Acidification (OA). The subsequent changes in carbon chemistry will most likely affect marine photosynthetic organisms in a number of ways; including the ability of organisms to build calcium carbonate shells or skeletons (calcification) and primary production. Previous work indicates that both processes respond to OA, but not always in the same way. Consequently the aim of this review is to evaluate how our understanding of the effects of OA on calcification and primary production has progressed in recent years. It is concluded after examining the literature that our understanding has not developed, with recent work either agreeing with or contradicting past studies. However, there has been an increase in the number of multi-factorial studies, and so from this point of view our understanding has increased. To gain a better understanding, it is imperative that more comparable data becomes available, which although this sounds self-evident does mean that a consensus must be reached on the best methodology to use.
Jarrold, M. (2012) 'How will ocean acidification affect marine photosynthetic organisms? A review', The Plymouth Student Scientist, 5(2), p. 617-634.