By the end of the century, the shellfish species could disappear completely if the amount of C02 into the atmosphere doesn’t decrease. Oceans take up carbon dioxide as it’s produced into the atmosphere and it’s then converted to carbonic acid in the ocean. This acid reduces the availability of calcium carbonate needed by shellfish to produce their shells. The more carbon dioxide in the ocean, the less carbonate is available to those who use it.
Even now, with the ocean being as acidic as it is, shellfish, plankton, sea urchins, starfish, and coral may have difficulty forming their skeletons. Dr. Richard Feely, an oceanographer working at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle says that water samples show a 30 percent increase in the amount of acidity compared with 200 years ago. Unlike lakes hurt by acid rain that can be treated with alkaline products, the ocean is too big to be treated the same way. The only way to help the oceans is to emit less carbon dioxide.