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Source: istock

The Pacific Ocean Is Becoming so Acidic That Crab Shells Are Dissolving


Since the industrial revolution began some 200 years ago, the world's oceans have become about 30% more acidic according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Oceans absorb a large amount of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, and when mixed with saltwater, chemical reactions produce hydrogen ions, making the water more acidic. The reaction also reduces the level of carbonate ions, which seashells and coral skeletons rely on to form and repair.

The Pacific Ocean is especially prone to this process, and some parts of the ocean water are acidifying at a rate greater than the rest of the world. According to a new study, funded by NOAA, this is creating a huge problem for  Dungeness crab larvae. 

The authors of the study found that the ocean is so acidic in some areas that it's dissolving the shells of these crabs, preventing them from building shells strong enough to protect them from predators and help them float.