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气候变化让海洋软体动物失去硬壳

更新时间:2015-12-1 19:17:29 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Dissolving Shells
气候变化让海洋软体动物失去硬壳

Search the phrase “climate change” and you’ll find a lot of images of melting glaciers and polar bears standing precariously on little bits of ice. This week, we’ll be featuring less familiar examples of what climate change looks like, such as the dissolving shells of pteropods, tiny creatures with an important place in the ocean’s food chain.

搜索“气候变化”时,你会发现很多冰川融化,以及北极熊站在小块冰层上摇摇欲坠的图片。本周,我们将通过不那么熟悉的例子来展现气候变化带来的影响,比如翼足目软体动物不断溶解的外壳,这种小生物是海洋食物链中重要的一环。

Pteropods are sometimes called sea butterflies, and salmon, whales and other marine life eat these little snails. And scientists have found that their shells, which contain calcium carbonate, are sensitive to changes in the ocean’s pH levels.

翼足目软体动物有时被称为海蝴蝶,它们是鲑鱼、鲸和其他海洋生物的食物。科学家发现,它们的外壳对海洋pH值的变化很敏感。

That’s where climate change comes in. Carbon dioxide from human activities ends up in the ocean, increasing the acidity of seawater. As the pH level falls and water becomes more corrosive, calcium carbonate in pteropod shells dissolves.

这就是气候变化带来的影响。人类活动产生的二氧化碳最终进入海洋,提高了海水的酸度。随着pH值降低,海水的腐蚀性也加强了,翼足目软体动物外壳中的碳酸钙就会逐渐溶解。

While the potential for this problem had been demonstrated in labs, last year National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists were surprised to discover that damage to pteropod shells in the Pacific Ocean had already started. The ocean acidification that damages pteropods could have manifestations in other marine species, too, creating distress on the ocean’s food web.

虽然实验室的试验已经证明可能存在这种问题,但美国国家海洋与大气管理局(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)的科学家们去年惊讶地发现,气候变化已经开始对太平洋里翼足目软体动物的外壳产生损害。危害此类动物的海洋酸化现象,也可能对其他海洋物种造成损害,进而对海洋食物链造成影响。

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