Microscopic marine organisms could adapt to climate change

By on March 28, 2013
Oceans & Coasts News

Researchers from England’s Plymouth University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico have found evidence that some microscopic organisms may be able to adapt to climate change, according to the Natural Environment Research Council.

The organisms studied, foraminifera, were found to withstand very low pH levels near seafloor vents in the Gulf of California. This is encouraging given the rising acidity of oceans worldwide. Carbon dioxide bubbling through the Gulf vents lowers pH and accurately mimics conditions of ocean acidification.

Two types of foraminifera were studied: those with calcium carbonate shells and those without. Both organisms responded well to low pH conditions – withstanding levels as low as 7.55 pH – but researchers are unsure if they can withstand levels harsher than that, noting the average ocean pH is currently near 8.1.

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