Agriculture
Silk’s superpowers
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Amphibians
Salamanders
Frogs and Toads
Tree Frogs
Animals
New Mammals
Vent Worms Like It Hot
Sea Lilies on the Run
Behavior
Taking a Spill for Science
Reading Body Language
Newly named fish crawls and hops
Birds
Kiwis
Pigeons
Doves
Chemistry and Materials
Sugary Survival Skill
The science of disappearing
Unscrambling a Gem of a Mystery
Computers
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Programming with Alice
Lighting goes digital
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Watery Fate for Nature's Gliders
Meet your mysterious relative
Dinosaurs Grow Up
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Coral Islands Survive a Tsunami
Environment
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Sounds and Silence
A Change in Time
Finding the Past
Writing on eggshells
Ancient Art on the Rocks
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Fish
Angler Fish
Hagfish
Manta Rays
Food and Nutrition
Making good, brown fat
Chocolate Rules
Healing Honey
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Subject and Verb Agreement
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Prime Time for Cicadas
Human Body
Nature's Medicines
Disease Detectives
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
Invertebrates
Scallops
Corals
Mosquitos
Mammals
Bonobos
Cornish Rex
Cats
Parents
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Physics
Black Hole Journey
Electric Backpack
The Particle Zoo
Plants
The algae invasion
Assembling the Tree of Life
Stalking Plants by Scent
Reptiles
Komodo Dragons
Lizards
Geckos
Space and Astronomy
A Family in Space
Sun Flips Out to Flip-Flop
Pluto, plutoid: What's in a name?
Technology and Engineering
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
Toy Challenge
Riding Sunlight
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Where rivers run uphill
Reach for the Sky
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Earth's Poles in Peril
Add your Article

Acid Snails

Conditions in the world’s oceans are changing, thanks to human activities. And those changes might be affecting the ability of a small snail to defend itself, suggests a new study.

Factories, cars, and other machines spit out lots of a gas called carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is known as a greenhouse gas because it traps heat in the atmosphere. More and more of the gas has been accumulating in the air in recent years.

CO2 has also been dissolving in seawater, and that’s been changing the water’s chemical composition. As a result, seawater at the surface of the world’s oceans has become more acidic. That shift could eventually make life tougher for a type of snail called the common periwinkle, say researchers from the University of Plymouth in England.

The common periwinkle lives along coastlines throughout much of Europe. One of its main predators is the common shore crab. The hungry crabs grab the snails “like ice cream cones,” says lead researcher Simon Rundle. Snails with thin shells are most likely to get crushed and eaten.

Scientists already knew that snails grow thicker shells to protect themselves when predators live nearby. The British researchers wanted to know if an increase in the acidity of the water would affect this thickening process.

The scientists grew more than 100 periwinkles in tanks. They put half of the snails in tanks filled with normal seawater. They added CO2 bubbles to the water in the other snails’ tanks to make it acidic. The researchers then put a crab in some of the tanks with both types of water.

In the tanks with normal seawater, the periwinkle shells grew substantially thicker when a crab was living at the bottom. In the tanks with acidic water, the snail shells did not get thicker. These results suggest that snails living in acidic water have a harder time defending themselves from predators.

Scientists measure acidity on what’s called the pH scale. A liquid with a pH of 7, such as distilled water, is considered neutral. A pH measurement of less than 7 indicates acidity. Lemon juice and stomach acid are examples of acidic substances. A pH of greater than 7 is the opposite of acidic, often called basic or alkaline. Bleach is one example.

Overall, the oceans are slightly alkaline, with a pH of 8.2. But studies show that the pH of ocean water has dropped by about 0.1 unit in the past few hundred years. And computer models suggest that ocean pH could drop another 0.3 to 0.4 unit by 2100.

That change could be a problem for all sorts of underwater organisms. As seawater becomes more acidic, these creatures have an increasingly difficult time producing a mineral called calcium carbonate. This material makes up coral reefs, sea urchin teeth, and snail shells, among other structures.

Until now, studies of seawater acidity have mostly looked at its effects on individual species. The new study shows that changes in the oceans are influencing interactions between species, too.—Emily Sohn

Acid Snails
Acid Snails








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™