By Ed Marroni
Those of you who collect sea shells or just pick them up as you walk the beach probably have not noticed that they are becoming thinner unless you have checked closely. Over the last few decades scientists have observed some of them thinning. The scientific explanation of shell thinning is ocean acidification which is a present and real danger to marine life.
Some shells are thinner because our production of carbon dioxide has impacted the pH of the ocean, making the ocean more acidic. This change in ocean chemistry reduces the availability of calcium carbonate, which a range of ocean creatures need to make their shells. Some results are: the shells of tiny sea snails grow more slowly; the shells of oyster larvae start to dissolve soon after forming; and brittle stars and barnacles die.
So, what’s the big deal that sea shells are becoming thinner? Well, its another indicator of how our behavior and actions are negatively effecting our Earth. What can we do? Here are a few suggestions:
- Reduce the frequency of driving your car (use other means to get around, like public transportation or riding a bike)
- Remove grass clippings from your curb gutters
- Be careful not to fertilize close to water ways or use Earth-friendly fertilizers and do not over fertilize (instructions on the bag usually tell you when and how much fertilizer to put down).
Thank you, readers, for your efforts to care for our Earth!