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Seawater Acidification by Acid or Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment

Paper Reviewed
Fukuda, S.-y, Suzuki, Y. and Shiraiwa, Y. 2014. Difference in physiological responses of growth, photosynthesis and calcification of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi to acidification by acid and CO2 enrichment. Photosynthesis Research 121: 299-309.

Ocean acidification is considered by the world's climate alarmists to be the "evil twin" of global warming; but there are many scientists who do not see it that way, three of whom - Shin-ya Fukuda, Yurina Suzuki and Yoshihiro Shiraiwa - recently performed an experiment that proves their side of the issue to be correct.

Working with the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi, which contributes greatly to the biological CO2 pump of the world's oceans - whereby atmospheric CO2 diffusing into the surface waters of the sea is captured by photosynthesizing organisms, such as coccolithophores, and is ultimately transferred to the sea floor, where it is sequestered when the organisms' life cycle is complete - the Japanese researchers acidified seawater in which the little creatures were maintained in the laboratory by two different means: (1) adding hydrochloric acid (HCL) directly to the seawater to obtain pH treatments of 8.2-8.4, 7.6-7.8 and 7.1-7.3, or (2) bubbling CO2-enriched air of 406, 816 and 1192 ppm into the seawater to establish pH treatments of 8.0-8.3, 7.6-7.9 and 7.5-7.7. And what did they thereby learn?

Fukuda et al. report that both "cell growth and cellular calcification of E. huxleyi were strongly damaged by acidification by HCl, but not by acidification by CO2 enrichment." In fact, they say their study "clearly showed that the coccolithophore, E. huxleyi, has an ability to respond positively to acidification with CO2 enrichment." And they therefore concluded the report of their work by stating it "suggests that physiological activities of E. huxleyi cells will not be seriously damaged by ocean acidification at least up to 1200 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere," which we note is extremely good news for all life, both within the world's oceans and on land.

Posted 24 November 2014