10 Marine Species Threatened by Ocean Acidification

By David DeFranza, TreeHugger

1. Blue Sea Slug

The ocean is a delicate place, and tiny changes to its composition can cause serious devastation.

Adding carbon to the atmosphere contributes to global warming and climate change. Another less-discussed impact is ocean acidification—whereby carbon molecules diffuse into the ocean from the atmosphere, causing a steady rise in acidity—even though the impacts are already being felt by many species.

The beautiful blue sea slug, seen here, is one such creature. Blue sea slugs feed on the poisonous Portuguese man of war jellyfish, meaning that an ocean without them would be an ocean with a lot more stinging jellyfish.

Image: lostandcold / Flickr

2. Pteropods

Pteropods, too, are threatened by ocean acidification.

They may not look like much, but these tiny creatures are the foundation of arctic food webs that support larger marine animals like whales and polar bears. As the ocean becomes more acidic, pteropods actually begin to dissolve.

Image: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr

3. Brittle Star

Brittle stars, which are an important food source for flat fish, have been found to be highly vulnerable to ocean acidification in both adult and larval forms.

Image: NOAA, Ocean Explorer / Flickr

4. Squid

Acidic water has been found to interfere with squids’ blood, making it harder for them to absorb oxygen.

In addition to being an important part of marine food webs, squid are also part of lucrative markets around the world.

Image: Nick Hobgood / Wiki Commons

5. Shrimp

Shrimp, too, are immediately threatened by ocean acidification.

Even more than squid, these crustaceans represent an important part of food webs and livelihoods around the world.

Image: Haplochromis / Wiki Commons

6. Oysters

Oyster populations around the world have been suffering through a sudden crash.

Research has shown that the culprit here too is ocean acidification.

Image: GerardM / Wiki Commons

7. Sea Urchin

Sea urchin are beautiful, but their significance in the ocean goes well beyond their looks.

These invertebrates play a crucial role in maintaining reef ecosystems by eating algae and preventing blooms.

Image: prilfish / Flickr

8. Abalone

Abalone is another economically important sea creature threatened by ocean acidification.

Research has shown that the species may not survive 100 years at current rates of acidification.

Image: ellenm1 /Flickr

9. Coral

Coral, which has already suffered from acidification around the world, is perhaps the best known victim of the alarming trend.

With the loss of coral comes the loss of some of the ocean’s most vibrant and diverse ecosystems.

Image: jurvetson /Flickr

10. Clown Fish

Finally, the charismatic clown fish has been found with a higher instance of deafness and increases in brash behavior in more acidic waters—both of which lead to poor performance against the fish’s numerous predators.

Image: Leszek.Leszczynski / Flickr

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Sue H.
Sue H.2 years ago

We are supposed to be stewards for this planet we live on. Very disturbing that we've lost sight of this concept.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Thanks for posting, read this before and it is a disgrace!!

Dee Kraft
Dee Kraft3 years ago

We humans have to start thinking about all these animals who we are causeing so much harm. It's just time to pull our heads out of the sand and start cleaning up our oceans.

Carol H.
Past Member 3 years ago

This MANKIND doing what they do best kill off innocent animals that are just busy living nothing more nothing less.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

All life is linked, we're all threatened!

Estelita atti3 years ago


Jennifer V.
Jennifer V.3 years ago

not just 10

Sjoran F.
Sjoran F.3 years ago

Dumb Asses...... Where is the outrage????

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

very sad

Jon Hoy
Jonjon Hoy3 years ago

For a minute I thought it was a new breed of the Bata Fish.