In addition to harming some shelled organisms, OA may also directly harm non-shelled organisms. The changes in ocean chemistry associated with decreasing pH and increasing CO2 may also affect photosynthesis in marine plants and phytoplankton, and it may alter respiration and reproduction in all types of organisms. If respiration and reproduction become more difficult for many organisms, marine populations may decrease.
Researchers are now studying the potential effects of OA on marine life. In addition to affecting creatures with shells, OA is expected to indirectly affect all marine life. For example,
Researchers have found that some of OA's effects on ocean life are surprising, and their long-term consequences are hard to predict.