How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Airborne Transport of Biologically Significant Materials
Wilkening, K.E., Barrie, L.A. and Engle, M.  2000.  Trans-Pacific air pollution.  Science 290: 65-67.

What was done
The authors present a brief overview of what we know about the long-range transport of biologically significant materials via air currents, focusing upon the transport of dust and various pollutants from Eurasia across the Pacific Ocean to North America.

What was learned
The authors begin by bluntly stating that "the once-pristine air above the North Pacific Ocean is polluted."  Indeed, many substances that can radically affect all sorts of life forms are spread across the entire face of the planet by currents of air that encircle the globe; and the authors list several potential implications for a number of terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems.

What it means
There are many different ways in which this phenomenon, i.e., the aerial transport of biologically significant materials, may impact life on earth.  Furthermore, as the authors note, we can expect such impacts to increase with economic expansion around the world; and, by analogy, we can infer that such impacts have likely grown in tandem with both population and industrialization over the past century or so.  Hence, there is a very real possibility that certain phenomena, such as the apparent weakened ability of corals to withstand episodes of regional warming and intense solar radiation reception, may be linked to the enhanced delivery of various substances that impair their natural abilities to withstand such environmental stresses.

Reviewed 29 November 2000