Fishermen clean mussels before selling them at a public wet market in Manila (Photo : Reuters)
Ocean acidification is creating difficulties for clams and sea urchins to grow their shells, and climate change is being routed for the cause.
Scientists have warned the effect of shellfish growing thinner shells will cause a ripple effect in the marine ecosystem worldwide.
Researchers tested four types of marine-life capable of growing shells, from clams, lampshells, sea urchins, and sea snails, and put them into 12 different environments from tropical to cold.
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Results concluded that when the availability of calcium carbonate decreases, the skeletons become lighter.
"The results suggest that increased acidity is affecting the size and weight of shells and skeletons, and the trend is widespread across marine species," said a statement from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), one of several research organizations involved in the study.
"Where it gets colder and the calcium carbonate is harder to get out of the seawater the animals have thinner skeletons," Professor Lloyd Peck of the BAS told Reuters TV.
"This effect is strongest at low temperatures," sais BAS researcher Lloyd Peck. "[T]he results showed polar species to have the smallest and lightest skeleton, suggesting they may be more at risk in the coming decades as the oceans change."
Peck's statement could mean some species can adapt to different regions over time to survive.
"Given enough time and a slow enough rate of change, evolution may again help these animals survive in our acidifying oceans," said James Cook University's Sue-Ann Watson to Reuters.