Effects of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity and ecosystem function

Posted on EPOCA: 15 Sep 2011 — One of several compelling chapters in the book Ocean Acidification, now available from Oxford University Press

Ocean acidification is expected to affect the biodiversity and function of marine ecosystems due to the community-level consequences of direct physiological responses of organisms to changing ocean chemistry. Changes in rates of growth, survival, and reproduction in species that either benefit from (‘winners’) or are impacted by (‘losers’) ocean acidification can affect the abundance and productivity of populations. Shifts in population size or growth will alter the structure and function of marine food webs at the level of marine communities, with potentially important consequences for resources used by society. The magnitude of changes in biodiversity and ecosystem function expected by 2100 in response to expanding ocean acidification are not well understood, and could range from mild shifts in the abundances of species, to large changes in the diversity of marine communities, major disruption of ecosystem function, and large alterations in the ecosystem services important to society.

Barry J. P., Widdicombe S., & Hall-Spencer J. M., 2011. Effects of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity and ecosystem function. In: Gattuso J.-P. & Hansson L. (Eds.), Ocean acidification, pp. 192-209. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Book.