Greenhouse gas seen as risk to marine life

Aug. 21, 2012 at 7:54 PM

LIVERMORE, Calif., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Many marine species will be harmed or won't survive if carbon dioxide level increases persist in the world's oceans, U.S. and Australian researchers say.

The scientists argue current protection policies and management practices are unlikely to be enough to save the species. They say unconventional, non-passive methods to conserve marine ecosystems need to be considered if various marine species are to survive.

A significant amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is taken up by the oceans in a form that makes the ocean more acidic. The increasingly acidic conditions have been shown to be harmful to many species of marine life, especially corals and shellfish.

Scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, The Nature Conservancy in Hawaii and the University of Queensland in Australia said current policies are unlikely to solve the problem.

"Our concern is that the specific actions to counter such impacts as identified in current policy statements will prove inadequate or ineffective," the researchers wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

"A much broader evaluation of marine management and mitigation options must now be seriously considered," they wrote.

Policy makers should solicit and evaluate all potential marine management strategies, including unconventional ones, to prevent further environmental degradation, they said.

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