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What's eating the sea butterfly? CO2, study says

Published on Nov 26, 2012 6:06 AM
 

PARIS (AFP) - Rising acidity is eating away the shells of tiny snails, known as "sea butterflies", that live in the seas around Antarctica, leaving them vulnerable to predators and disease, scientists said Sunday.

The study presents rare evidence of living creatures suffering the results of ocean acidification caused by rising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel burning, the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement.

"The finding supports predictions that the impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and food webs may be significant." The tiny snail, named for two wing-like appendices, does not necessarily die as a result of losing its shell, but it becomes an easier target for fish and bird predators, as well as infection.

This may have a follow-through effect on other parts of the food chain, of which they form a core element.

 
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