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Rising Acidity Threatens Antarctic Shelf Ecosystems

Rising Acidity Threatens Antarctic Shelf Ecosystems mind map
Recent News
January 2024
Antarctic waters' acidity may double by 2100
When
By 2100
Why
Global warming
CO2 absorption by oceans
What
Ocean acidification
Harmful to marine ecosystems
Impact on MPAs
Marine Protected Areas
Two established
Three proposed
Increased acidity in MPAs
Affected species
Phytoplankton
Sea snails
Sea urchins
Top predators like whales and penguins
Where
Southern Ocean
Antarctic shelf regions
Weddell Sea
Ross Sea
Who
Cara Nissen
Research scientist
University of Colorado
Nicole S. Lovenduski
Study co-author
Cassandra M. Brooks
Study co-author
Other researchers
Mario Hoppema
Ralph Timmermann
Judith Hauck
How
Computer model simulation
Analysis of acidification progression
Significance
MPA establishment as priority
Protecting biodiversity
Challenges
Severe acidification under high emissions
Threat to entire marine food web
Way Forward
Cut CO2 emissions quickly
Aggressive mitigation strategies
Expansion of Antarctic MPAs

The recent research in January 2024 highlights the threat of rising acidity in the Antarctic shelf ecosystems, with the potential of ocean waters’ acidity doubling by 2100. This is mainly due to global warming and the absorption of CO2 by the oceans. The research focuses on the impact of this acidification on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and its harmful effects on marine ecosystems. Key species like phytoplankton, sea snails, sea urchins, and top predators like whales and penguins are at risk.

The research, led by Cara Nissen and involving other scientists, used computer models to simulate and analyze the progression of acidification. The findings underscore the need for establishing MPAs as a priority to protect biodiversity. However, there are significant challenges, as severe acidification is projected under high emission scenarios, threatening the entire marine food web. The way forward suggested by the research includes cutting CO2 emissions quickly and adopting aggressive mitigation strategies, along with the expansion of Antarctic MPAs.

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