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Bladderwrack is a habitat forming seaweed.
Bladderwrack is one of the most important species in coastal marine ecosystems. The seaweed forms underwater forests that provide protection and food for fish, crustaceans and many other marine organisms.
Photo: Alexandra Kinnby
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Ocean acidification puts coastal seaweed belts at risk

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A new publication from CeMEB present unexpected effects from ocean acidification.

In this study, bladder wrack Fucus vesiculosus was cultured in predicted future CO2 levels. This resulted in an increase of leaf surface area – and a drastic decrease in tissue strength. It is the first time such an effect of increased CO2 levels is reported for seaweeds.

Due to the increased storm events that are associated with climate change, this significantly reduced breaking strength could result in loss of seaweed biomass. This might in turn have implications for the future community structure of shallow coastal areas under ocean acidification. 

"Hopefully, the results will open our eyes to the fact that climate change can also have negative effects on common, but very important, species in our ecosystems. And that ocean acidification can have negative effects even on species that do not form limestone shells", says Alexandra Kinnby, PhD student at Tjärnö Marine Laboratory and first author.

Read the article

Ocean acidification decreases grazing pressure but alters morphological structure in a dominant coastal seaweed

Authors: Alexandra Kinnby, Joel C. B. White, Gunilla B. Toth och Henrik Pavia.

Published in PLOS ONE Januari 2021

Pressrelease (in Swedish)