Seaweed fights ocean acidification

(ORDO NEWS) — Laminaria (seaweed) is good not only for health, but also for balancing the acidity of water in the ocean, according to a new study.

This algae is able to reduce the negative effect of carbon dioxide and acidification of water on marine fauna, including the inhabitants of oyster farms.

Seaweed, or kelp (for example, sugar kelp Saccharina latissima ) is a rather primitive organism from the group of brown algae.

There is a lot of it in various seas, where wide thalli of kelp sometimes reach a length of 20 meters. They are actively harvested and used as raw materials for the production of healthy food and nutritional supplements.

According to a new article in Frontiers in Marine Science , kelp is also able to heal its habitat, the ocean, by resisting its acidification.

This is important, among other things, in connection with the danger to mariculture (cultivation of edible marine animals), primarily oysters and other bivalves.

The drop in the pH of ocean waters, which are usually alkaline, is associated with a number of dangers for the inhabitants of marine ecosystems and the biosphere as a whole.

For bivalves, many gastropods and other owners of calcareous shells, this is fraught with partial dissolution of their “home”. In addition, in a more acidic environment, such a shell is more difficult for young individuals to create.

It is known that many mass extinctions of the past (for example, the great Permian extinction) were accompanied by significant ocean acidification. It is largely responsible for the extinction of species. Something similar is happening on Earth today.

It is important to understand that changes in the chemical composition of the ocean are inextricably linked with other global processes, primarily with an increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

When there is more carbon dioxide in the air, it dissolves more actively in water and forms ions with acidic properties, which lowers the pH of the oceans somewhat.

Since the beginning of the new millennium, it has been known that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the surface layers of the ocean have become a real threat to shellfish.

The problem is especially acute in coastal areas, where this acidic oxide also comes from land. It is there that many oyster jars are located and mariculture farmers work, who breed mollusks and other invertebrates intended for sale.

As part of the fight against water acidification and other environmental problems, scientists propose “underwater gardening”, that is, the creation of new thickets, such as sea grasses or kelp.

It turns out that clusters of seaweed slow down the decrease in the pH of sea water (its acidification), and growing kelp in the waters of oyster farms even allows you to locally neutralize the increase in acidity, thereby protecting the mollusks and promoting their rapid growth.

Planting kelp also has additional benefits such as exclusion of carbon and nitrogen compounds from the cycle, which can be associated with negative effects on the climate, as well as the prevention of sea blooms caused by dangerous microalgae.

“Despite the continued development of mariculture, rapid ocean acidification is already threatening bivalve farming and requires our intervention.

We are convinced that our work will become the basis for a possible solution,” summed up Professor Christopher Gobler from Stony Brook University (USA).


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