Sea snails' shells dissolving in Earth's increasingly acidic oceans, study says
The pteropod (marine snail) inhabit the top 200 m of oceanic waters. Their shells are made of aragonite that can dissolve rapidly.
November 26th, 2012
03:56 AM ET

Sea snails' shells dissolving in Earth's increasingly acidic oceans, study says

Until recently, the main threat to the lives of sea butterflies, tiny snails with winglike lobes that float in ocean currents, had been the fish and birds that rely on them as an important source of food.

But a new, less visible menace is emerging, scientists say, as the parts of the ocean that the snails inhabit become more acidic as a result of the burning of fossil fuels by humans.

In a study published this month, a group of international scientists say they have discovered that the snails' shells are being severely eaten away by the rising acidity in an area of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica.

This is the first evidence of the changing chemistry of the oceans affecting living organisms in their natural environment, according to the scientists, whose paper was published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.


Filed under: Climate change • Environment • Weather • World
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    So the ocean is becomming one big salty soda pop???

    November 26, 2012 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Benn

    Poor snails.

    November 26, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    Well im bettin the underside of those big ocean liners are rust free. And humans are destroying everything, including each other.

    November 26, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. superman

    Hey chrissy and all.....marrinated sea snails dd shelled even.....oh yummmy what else can we destroy oh that opened a new door

    November 26, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    Lol welcome back to our world superman. The land of blocking and moderation, much like the land of OZ.

    November 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    I've said it before & I'll say it again: we are killing ourselves & other earth/ocean dwelling creatures w/irresponibility, greed & denial! The planet will stand & probably sustain forms of life again, but we & the earth as we know it will be long gone, by our own hand! It's way past time to Clean up our act, Clean House & hold polluters responsible!!

    November 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. s kel

    Amen fernance.

    November 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Abby

    Poor snails! I cannot believe that the snails are dying as a result of humans' actions and burning fossil fuels. I think there are other ways to get the same effect of burning fossil fuels but that are not as harmful to the earth. If more studies are done, I think the Earth could become a better place for humans and animals to live peacefully together. I think it is sad that animals, even if they are just snails, have to suffer because of our need to burn fossil fuels. I strongly believe that global warming is happening and if we can find other ways to stop global warming from happening then a lot of our problems would be solved.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rascal Rabble

    oh plz...acidic waters probally caused by killing off marine life and plants...and who has that kinner capacity? oil industry, nuclear plants, chemical plants and wastes, fishing industry...i guess we have to celebrate "pee in your ocean" day...

    November 27, 2012 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |