Norvergence – Climate Change Sparks Ocean Acidification that Degrades Sharks’ Skin

Source - DW

Source – DW

For almost a year, the team Norvergence is trying to spread awareness about the increasing earth temperature that leads to deadly global warming.

Luntz Auerswald, a fisheries biologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, who is also the team-lead of researchers, designed to discover the effects of acidic water on sharks has discovered something serious and heartbreaking.

Prolonged exposure to acidified water (because of climate change) corrodes Sharks’ skin (scales known as denticles).

“Shark denticles are made from dentin, which we know from human dentistry is susceptible to degradation from carbonic acid. That could make [sharks] especially vulnerable.

This study pertinently shows a case of another marine animal being threatened by ocean acidification. But more widely, it is likely to have a greater impact on ocean system processes leading to less productive seas. If this is happening to the skin of a shark, think of the massive impact on plankton, the base of the food web, and a massive absorbing agent of CO2.”

Norvergence: Corrosion came as a Surprise

Source - DW 1

Source – DW 1

Auerswald further added that from the changeable environment the shy sharks come from (in terms of pH), we expected that they would be able to regulate their acid-base balance in the short term as a response to a lowered pH. We were unsure, but not surprised that they can keep this regulation up for extended periods. The corrosion of the denticles, however, came as a surprise. We did not expect this.

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