Plankton can thrive in acidic oceans

Scientists have discovered that some plankton can thrive in acidic oceans, which are a result of increased levels of carbon dioxide.

According to a report in New Scientist, this was discovered by Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez from the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, UK, and her colleagues.

Most life in the ocean will suffer as carbon dioxide levels increase and the water becomes more acidic. Some plankton will buck the trend, however, thriving and putting on weight as carbon dioxide levels rise.

Evidence in support of this hypothesis was gathered by Rodriguez and her colleagues when they simulated the increase in dissolved carbon dioxide in surface ocean waters by bubbling carbon dioxide through cultures of coccolithophores, a type of single-celled photosynthesising plankton.

In previous experiments, water acidity had been regulated by simply adding acid or base, but this method has been criticised for being too artificial.