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7.5: Ocean Acidification

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  • Increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 lead to increases in the concentration of CO2 dissolved in ocean waters. This makes the oceans more acidic. Laboratory experiments show that as ocean acidity increases, organisms that build shells, including certain mollusks, corals, and plankton, begin to suffer declining ability to build and maintain their shells. Thus ocean acidification poses significant risks to marine ecosystems; but these risks are only now beginning to be quantified.

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