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pteropod

Zakwaszenie oceanów jest już tak duże, że woda rozpuszcza skorupy ślimaków żyjących w Oceanie Arktycznym. Naukowcy zdobyli pierwszy twardy dowód na istnienie zjawiska, które może zaszkodzić całemu łańcuchowi pokarmowemu.

W 2008 roku podczas wyprawy badawczej, w której udział wzięli uczeni z British Antarctic Survey (BAS), University of Eas Anglia, US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oraz National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), odkryto poważne uszkodzenia muszli u ślimaków skrzydłonogich (Pteropoda). Te niewielkie stworzenia żyją w okolicach Antarktydy i są ważnym źródłem pożywienia dla ryb i ptaków. Odgrywają też istotną rolę w obiegu węgla.

Naukowcy badali obszar, w którym dochodzi do upwellingu. To zjawisko podnoszenia się wód głębinowych na powierzchnię. Zwykle dochodzi do niego wskutek działalności wiatru. Takie wynoszone na powierzchnię wody powodują zwykle większą korozję w muszlach ślimaków niż wody powierzchniowe. Mocnej reagują bowiem z aragonitem, z którego zbudowane są muszle. Jednak tym razem naukowcy zauważyli niepokojące objawy. Muszle ślimaków były poważnie uszkodzone. Znacznie mocniej niż działo się do do tej pory. Bliższe badania wykazały, że przyczyną uszkodzenia jest zwiększona kwasowość wody.

Wody oceaniczne stają się bardziej kwasowe wskutek wchłaniania dwutlenku węgla emitowanego przez człowieka. Przeprowadzone wcześniej eksperymenty laboratoryjne wykazały, że rosnąca kwasowość będzie miała niekorzystny wpływ na organizmy morskie. Tym razem zdobyto pierwszy twardy dowód na to, że takie zmiany mają już miejsce w środowisku naturalnym.

Wiemy, że woda morska obecna na głębokości większej od ‚horyzontu nasycenia’, który znajduje się na głębokości około 1000 metrów, powoduje zwiększoną korozję aragonitowych muszli. Jednak tym razem w miejscu, z którego pobraliśmy próbki, proces taki zachodził już na głębokości 200 metrów. Doszło tam do połączenia naturalnego upwellingu oraz zakwaszenia oceanu. Pteropody żyją właśnie na tej głębokości. Woda spowodowała poważne uszkodzenia muszli zwierząt i pokazała, jak bardzo są one wrażliwe. Do rozpuszczenia się tych muszli przyczyniło się zakwaszenie oceanów spowodowane emisją CO2 przez człowieka – mówi doktor Nina Bednarsek z NOAA.

Chociaż upwelling jest naturalnym zjawiskiem zachodzącym na Oceanie Południowym, to przypadki, w którym podczas upwellingu ‚horyzont nasycenia’ podnosi się powyżej 200 metrów są w ostatnich latach coraz częstsze. Ma to związek ze zwiększającym się zakwaszeniem oceanów. Pteropody, jedne z wielu zwierząt mających muszle zbudowane z aragonitu, są ważnym składnikiem pokarmowym dla ryb i ptaków oraz istotnym wskaźnikiem zdrowia ekosystemu. Zmniejszenie się grubości ich muszli nie musi oznaczać, że zwierzę zginie, ale będzie przez to bardziej podatne na atak drapieżnika oraz na infekcje, co będzie miało konsekwencje dla innych części łańcucha pokarmowego – dodaje współautor badań, doktor Geraint Tarling z BAS.

Źródło: kopalniawiedzy.pl

Komentarzy: 46 w artykule: ”Zakwaszona woda zagraża łańcuchowi pokarmowemu”

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