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Vicicitus Globosus, the green species in the water that can reduce, initially, the size of mussels.
The increase in the levels of carbon dioxide in the air makes the waters of the ocean more and more acidic. Researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research have discovered on the Canary coast that not all marine creatures suffer from it.
In this November issue of Nature a group of researchers Climate Change warns that a poisonous species of algae develops particularly well in acidic water. In the two-month test, the marine plant “Vicicitus globosus” increased so much that it was partially affected in the food chain. The authors of the study warn that in the future, the proliferation of algae in many coastal areas could seriously affect fishing and aquaculture.
“Their blooms are associated with the mortality of fish in coastal waters and aquaculture facilities”
Many other organisms, on the other hand, suffer from the acidification of the ocean, especially those that incorporate lime in their shells and skeletons. Studies show that, for example, mussel larvae become thinner and older mussels can lose control over the soil. Many corals, some species of fish and sea urchins reacted sensibly by sinking the pH values of the water.
It is one of the most impressive results of the experiment that its scientists carried out in 2014 in the Canary Islands with the collaboration of the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (IOCAG) and the Oceanic Platform of the islands (Plocan).
This experiment tried to simulate on the coasts of Gran Canaria how the oceans would respond over the next century to the tensions that climate change will cause and, in particular, to the cycle by which the atmosphere transfers more and more dioxide from carbon to seawater.
The work, signed by the German Ulf Riebesell (Geomar) and the Spanish Javier Arístegui (IOCAG), among other researchers, shows that, if CO2 concentrations continue to increase at the current rate, they could favor the so-called massive developments of some types of algae toxic
For Ulf Riebesell it is proven that “Vicicitus globosus” was developed in a massive way over 800 ppm of CO2 in the water, with important negative effects on the survival of the rest of the plankton.
The exact cause of the growth of Vicicitus globosus algae in high CO2 conditions has not yet been identified, says Riebesell: Either the alga benefits disproportionately, increasing its rate of photosynthesis, compared to other species, or its toxicity increases with carbon dioxide.
“Solving this question requires more detailed analysis in the laboratory,” adds the Geomar scientist. It is also unknown if the results of this study can be extrapolated to other species of toxic algae.
However, “Vicicitus globosus” is widely distributed, from temperate regions to the tropics , and its blooms have been repeatedly associated with the mortality of fish in coastal waters and aquaculture facilities.
“This is the first evidence from a field study that shows that ocean acidification can promote the proliferation of toxic algae . Another important reason to quickly reduce CO2 emissions, summarizes Riebesell.
For his part, Javier Arístegui, who is part of the working group on the oceans of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), highlights that in the next report of this international organization he will make special mention of the problem of toxic algae and its relationship with climate change.
Therefore, he adds, this article is a timely contribution and of great scientific relevance. Likewise, it considers that the influence of climate change on the development of harmful or toxic algae species can be more accentuated in tropical and subtropical regions, especially sensitive to climatic disturbances, as is the case of the Canary Current.
Source: ABC Canary Island