'Acid Waters' Could Prove Catastrophic for Marine Life
Oceans have done humans a big favor, scientists say, by helping deal with the greenhouse gases. As humans have added more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the oceans have absorbed a lot of it.
But that’s made the water about 30 percent more acidic -- a big problem, scientists say, for animals that make shells like oysters and mussels.
UC Santa Cruz scientist Greg Rau says the rate of acidification is so fast that some marine plants and animals face "potentially catastrophic effects." He says some organisms may need help to adapt.
"Could we do some genetic engineering?" Rau asked. "Could we do some selective breeding that would sort of speed up the evolutionary process that would allow at least some organisms to survive?"
Scientists say the most sensitive ecosystems are coral reefs, the Earth's polar regions--and possibly the California coast.