Welcome to the first Friday Smorgasbord of summer! This week’s roundup is interesting but may be a gloomy reminder of our negative influence on the oceans. First off is a report that documents what we already suspected — that corals do not respond well to ocean acidification. The report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to show that corals are not able to fully acclimate to low pH conditions in nature. Low pH causes reduced density of the coral skeletons that makes them more vulnerable to erosion during storms, to organisms that bore into corals and to predators like parrotfish.
[via, NSF ; Image Credit: Elizabeth Crook]
Think its sharks and whales ruling the ocean kingdom? They may be the largest and most intimidating but its the little guys that make it all happen. Watch this video by the Pew Environment Group to show how smaller fish play a major role in the food web. Commonly known as forage fish, small schooling fish like herring and anchovies are a crucial food source for larger, more familiar species like tuna, whales, and seabirds.
The Hoff’s namesake may not be happy with global warming that could wipe it out. The Yeti crab, also known as the Hoff crab after David Hasselhoff’s hairy torso, survives in an environment of no light, little oxygen, extreme temperatures and tremendous pressure, may not be able to survive a warming ocean, scientists say. The alien-like crab was discovered in 2009, living on the perimeter of hydrothermal vents thousands of feet beneath the Indian and Arctic oceans.
[via LA Times]
Kiss the Atlantic Ocean goodbye! I know all of you hoping for another version of the Jersey Shore might be a bit disappointed. A new report shows a newly discovered crack in the Earth’s crust could pull North America and Europe together and cause the Atlantic Ocean to vanish in about 220 million years. What will Snooki’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren do?
[via Nat Geo]