From the Arctic to the tropics, ocean acidification changes life in the sea. By absorbing manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, the ocean slows down global climate change. But in seawater, the greenhouse gas causes a chemical reaction with far-reaching consequences: carbonic acid is formed, and the pH drops.
Many plants and animals that build their shells or skeletons of calcium carbonate are at serious risk, because they need more energy to maintain growth in more acidic water. Organisms that convert carbon dioxide into energy by photosynthesis, however, could benefit. In addition, certain species might be able to adapt to new conditions in the long run. The roles in the marine food web are redefined, while other factors such as rising temperatures, loss of oxygen, eutrophication, pollution or overfishing might further influence the effects of ocean acidification.
The German research network BIOACID examines the effects of acidification on the life and biogeochemical cycles in the ocean – and on all those who depend on it.
In an exhibition of the BIOACID project, the two nature photographers Solvin Zankl and Nick Cobbing present BIOACID members at their work and introduce organisms that current ocean acidification research focuses on.
The exhibition is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the Science Year 2016*17 – Seas and Oceans.