Calcareous Algae Proliferating in a More Acidic Ocean?

January 19, 2016

Ocean acidification may wreak havoc with coral reefs, clams, and oysters, but Coccolithophores – tiny calcareous plankton that make up the all-important lowermost rung of the marine food ladder – are thriving, report researchers in PLoS One and Nature. How do we explain the proliferation of calcareous organisms in a more acidic environment?  Research published this week by Samantha J. Gibbs, et al. uses fossil records of those species of coccolithophores whose shell structure renders them most sensitive to pH, and concludes that around the time of Earth’s hottest hothouse climates, water temperature was more important than pH in determining where they survived. 

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