Scientists at a German research institute have come up with an interesting finding. In a study concluded recently, it became evident that tiny armored creatures that usually float along the surface of the ocean can adapt and survive in the rapidly changing environment.
With increasing amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, the environment is getting rapidly polluted. The same gas eventually dissolves in the ocean. This results in the water turning acidic, thus causing serious damage to the marine creatures.
However, the scientist trio at Helmholtz Center for Oceanographic Research have bred up a variety of phytoplankton known by the name of Emiliania huxleyi that can reportedly tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide in water.
Emiliania huxleyi was chosen for two relevant reasons. One this forms the basis of many of food chains in the ocean and is a coccolithophore. Coccolithophores have their shells build of calcium carbonate.
The acidity of oceans have changed rapidly over the last few centuries. It was about 8.25 in mid eighteenth century and currently is around 8.14. Lower numbers signify increasing acidity and is a cause of concern.
Intensive field testing was undertaken to arrive at a conclusion. The plankton bred in the laboratory was exposed to increasing concentration of carbon dioxide. The concentration of carbon dioxide was about four times than present in the atmosphere.
Surprising results emerged from the study that enabled the scientists to come to the conclusion that Emiliania huxleyi can adapt well to the changing environmental scenario.
It emerged that the phytoplankton can not only adapt, but also maintain its shell building in challenging environmental conditions. The study was conducted over a period of a year and frame spans of 500 generations of Emiliania huxleyi were used to arrive at this conclusion.