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Ocean acidification hurting marine life

The Atlantic Ocean (UPI Photo Files)
The Atlantic Ocean (UPI Photo Files) | License Photo

LONDON, June 9 (UPI) -- A British researcher said ocean acidification caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions could leave coral and sea urchins struggling to survive.

"Our field studies provide a window on the future of the oceans in a high CO2 world," Jason Hall-Spencer of the University of Plymouth said Sunday in a statement. "We show the dramatic ecological consequences of ocean acidification including the removal of corals, snails and sea urchins and the proliferation of invasive alien algae."

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Ocean acidification occurs when rising levels of CO2 are absorbed by the ocean, which leads to lower pH levels in seawater.

Hall-Spencer said observations of marine ecosystems located close to volcanic carbon dioxide vents suggest marine food webs "will be severely disrupted and major ecological tipping points are likely if human CO2 emissions continue unabated."

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

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