Effects of Ocean Acidification on Limpet Shell Strength
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Calcium carbonate shells undergo dissolution in acidified conditions. As carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, the ocean's pH is lowered. The limpet Lottia scutum is used in this experiment to demonstrate the affect of ocean acidification on calcium carbonate material, which many marine organisms possess. As a limpet's shell becomes brittle its life expectancy may become threatened by environmental conditions such as desiccation, sun and temperature exposure, as well as predation. Peak force from crushing limpet shells is used in this experiment to measure shell strength and show how strength is diminished in acidified water over time.