Home
Donate Sign up for e-network
CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
ABOUT ACTION PROGRAMS SPECIES NEWSROOM PUBLICATIONS SUPPORT

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

KEY SPECIES PROFILES

Some species are already being directly harmed by ocean acidification — but there's no doubt that all marine life will be harmed as its effects ripple up the ocean food chain. Here, we tell you about some important species hurting now and some that will be feeling acidification next.

   

NOW

NEXT

 

Pteropods: Seawaters are already corrosive enough in some areas to erode the shells of these small sea “butterflies.” Pteropods are tiny snails that are found throughout the oceans and are an important link in the marine food web. They’re gobbled up by a variety of fish, whales and seabirds.


Salmon: Pink salmon’s food source may be in trouble. Nearly half of the young salmon’s diet consists of pteropods, small sea butterflies at risk from acidification. Even a 10 percent decrease in the population of pteropods could mean a 20 percent drop in an adult salmon’s body weight.


NOW

Oysters: For the past six years, baby oysters in the Pacific Northwest have been unable to survive in increasingly acidic waters. The region’s top oyster hatcheries have also experienced declines up to 80 percent during periods when acidified waters are reaching the shores.


NEXT

Sea Otters: Effects of ocean acidification will be felt up the food chain. Marine mammals like sea otters that rely on shellfish may be in trouble. Studies show that, if left unchecked, within our lifetime our oceans could become acidic enough to stunt the growth of urchins, clams, mussels, abalone and oysters.


NOW

Corals: Scientists warn us that coral reefs will vanish by mid-century unless we reduce CO2 pollution. Soon most corals will be surrounded by waters that are bad for their growth. In some areas of the ocean, coral growth rates have already declined due to ocean acidification.

NEXT

Clownfish: These cute little fish face a double whammy from ocean acidification. The coral reefs they depend upon are threatened by corrosive waters. To make matters worse, studies show that increasingly acidic waters impairs their ability to hear, which is an essential skill for finding home within their reef.

Clownfish photo courtesy Flickr Commons/Nemo's great uncle

+ More photo credits: