Shells Dissolve in Acidified Ocean Water

Shells Dissolve in Acidified Ocean Water

Pteropods, or “sea butterflies,” are free-swimming sea snails about the size of a small pea. Pteropods are eaten by marine species ranging in size from tiny krill to whales and are an important source of food for North Pacific juvenile salmon. The photos above show what happens to a pteropod’s shell in seawater that is too acidic. The left panel shows a shell collected from a live pteropod from a region in the Southern Ocean where acidity is not too high. The shell on the right is from a pteropod collected in a region where the water is more acidic (Photo credits: (left) Bednaršek et al. 2012;f5ea3c8e-a727-47a1-981c-4db49a0b6d33 (right) Nina Bednaršek).

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Oceans, Ecosystems & Biodiversity