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April 3rd, 2021

The most common cause of ocean acidification is through carbon absorption and the transfer of CO2 and O2. Carbon dioxide reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid which causes the acidity of seawater to increase.

Ocean acidification reduces the amount of carbonate, a key building block in seawater making it more difficult for marine organisms, such as coral and some plankton, to form their shells and skeletons, and existing shells may begin to dissolve.

The ocean is home to a complicated and diverse ecosystem. Increased acidity can harm or help individual plant and animal species in different ways. Some organisms are likely to become more abundant, and others less so e.g. seagrasses may grow faster if more dissolved carbon dioxide is available, while the number of oysters may decrease as fewer larvae complete their life cycle due to increased acidity.

Ocean acidification can significantly damage marine habitats, alters marine resource availability and disrupts ecosystems, and combined with direct ocean warming the impacts of ocean acidification could be enormous. The change in ocean chemistry may lead to collapsing food webs, corrosive polar seas, dying coral reefs and mass extinctions which could alter our food, water and air forever. 

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