Agriculture
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Amphibians
Salamanders
Toads
Tree Frogs
Animals
Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
A Spider's Taste for Blood
A Fallout Feast for Crabs
Behavior
The Disappearing Newspaper
Contemplating thought
Calculating crime
Birds
Birds We Eat
Peafowl
A Meal Plan for Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Picture the Smell
Supersonic Splash
The chemistry of sleeplessness
Computers
Galaxies far, far, far away
New twists for phantom limbs
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino-bite!
The man who rocked biology to its core
The Paleontologist and the Three Dinosaurs
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Weird, new ant
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Surf Watch
Environment
Missing Tigers in India
To Catch a Dragonfly
A Change in Climate
Finding the Past
A Big Discovery about Little People
Stonehenge Settlement
Watching deep-space fireworks
Fish
Pygmy Sharks
Saltwater Fish
Salmon
Food and Nutrition
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
The Essence of Celery
GSAT English Rules
Problems with Prepositions
Who vs. That vs. Which
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
Detecting True Art
Prime Time for Cicadas
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Human Body
Kids now getting 'adult' disease
The tell-tale bacteria
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Invertebrates
Ticks
Snails
Horseshoe Crabs
Mammals
Bats
Spectacled Bear
Beagles
Parents
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Speedy stars
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Plants
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Underwater Jungles
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Reptiles
Snakes
Reptiles
Cobras
Space and Astronomy
Chaos Among the Planets
Melting Snow on Mars
Intruder Alert: Sweeping Space for Dust
Technology and Engineering
Slip Sliming Away
Smart Windows
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Reach for the Sky
Middle school science adventures
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Watering the Air
Earth's Poles in Peril
Arctic Melt
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™