Acidic Ocean Water is Decaying Skin and Teeth of Sharks, Scientists Warn

by Ernest Thomas
Acidic Ocean Water is Decaying Skin and Teeth of Sharks, Scientists Warn

A set of tiny, tooth-like scales covers a shark’s body by offering a protective layer. But the shield is extremely vulnerable to the acidification of the ocean. Notably, continuous contact with low pH can severely affect the denticles, primarily shaving of scales of sharks. The process of striping results in complexities; it obstructs the shark’s ability to swim and hunt. It is a result of the increasing acidic nature of ocean water, and human activities are liable for the drastic change. As per a team of South African and German researchers, acidified water includes high levels of carbon dioxide. Thus a study released in Scientific Reports reveals the acidic ocean water and its impact on marine animals, mainly sharks.

During the trial, Lutz Auerwald and co-workers have studied the impact of long-term exposure of acidified seawater in puffadder shy sharks. They have focused on three sharks residing in seawater, having high levels of CO2. As a result, they have noticed decay of around 25% of denticles. Besides this, they have studied a trio of sharks that resided in non-acidic ocean water. Among this group, they have noticed a minimal loss of up to 9.2% of denticles. The team of researchers recommends that such erosion may damage the skin or scale layer of sharks. Even more, it affects the swimming potential of sharks in open-water. Apart from this, the researchers surmise that equivalent corrosion may take place in the teeth of sharks. As a result, a shark may lose the potential of eating or feeding.

The acidification of oceans is because seawater soaks up rising levels of CO2 from the air and turn it into carbonic acid. In other words, it is a result of the rapidly transforming climate and increasing pollution. Experts say if human activities continue to contribute to increasing levels of CO2, the average pH of oceans will fall from 8.1 to 7.3 in the upcoming few centuries. The team has published its findings in Scientific Reports.

You may also like

Leave a Comment