Monkfish turtles living in increasingly acidified oceans face a battle to survive when the effects of climate change spread, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and the University of Plymouth, UK, evaluated the impact of rising carbon dioxide concentrations on the large predatory "tritone" gastropod (Charonia lamp shaft).
They discovered that those living in regions with predicted CO2 levels would in the future be on average about one-third smaller than counterparts living in conditions that can be seen everywhere in the oceans.
However, there was also a noticeable negative effect on the thickness, density and structure of their shells, which caused the surface of the shell to deteriorate visibly.
Register Limits in marine sciences, scientists say the effects are due to the increased stress on the species in waters where the pH is lower, which reduces their ability to control the calcification process.
And they have warned that other shellfish are likely to be affected in the same way, threatening their survival and those of other species that rely on them for food.
Dr. Ben Harvey, university lecturer at the Shimoda Marine Research Center at Tsukuba University, said: "Oceanic acidification is a clear threat to marine life and acts as a stress factor for many sea creatures, where we found the ability of the triton shells to to produce and the maintenance of their shells was hampered by ocean acidification, in which the corrosive seawater made them smoother, thinner and less dense. The extensive decomposition of their shells has a profound effect on calcified animals in the future, because it is not something that they are biologically control, suggesting that some calcified species may not be able to adapt to acidified seawater if carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise uncontrollably. "
The research was carried out in a marine volcanic area off the Shikine-Jima coast in Japan, where carbon dioxide bubbling through the seabed lowers the pH of seawater from the current levels to future predicted levels.
Using computer tomography (CT) scanning, the scientists measured the thickness, density and structure of the shells, with the shell thickness halved in areas with increased CO2, while the average shell length was reduced from 178 mm at locations with current levels up to 112 mm.
In some cases, these negative effects exposed body tissue and resolved the envelope of the envelope, with the corrosive effects of acidification being much more pronounced around the oldest parts of the shell.
Jason Hall-Spencer, Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth, added: "Our study clearly shows that increasing levels of carbon dioxide cause seawater to become corrosive to crustaceans, as these calcified animals are a fundamental part of marine coastal communities, oceanic acid. expects the impact on the shellfish fishery will be. "