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Ocean acidification experiment


Post-doctoral investigator Amy Maas examines a flask full of phytoplankton, which she will feed to pelagic snails she collected in the Gulf of Maine. These snails—the pteropod Limacina retroversa—are prey for seabirds, fish and whales in the North Atlantic. They are also increasingly vulnerable to ocean acidification, a process in which carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, lowering its pH and reducing the amount of carbonate ions available for marine creatures to build their shells. Maas and her colleagues are studying how acidification affects pteropod physiology—but plentiful, healthy food is required to rule out poor diet as a stressor. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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