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slate pencil urchin

Stalwart Survivor

The golf-ball-size slate pencil urchin, Eucidaris tribuloides, belongs to the only group of sea urchins known to have survived the Permian-Triassic extinction that occurred about 252 million years ago. Only about 4 percent of all sea-dwelling species survived that event, which has been linked to ocean acidification caused by global increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Postdoctoral scholar Justin Ries, working with scientists Anne Cohen and Dan McCorkle, studied how increased levels of atmospheric CO2 affect modern-day marine species (including Eucidaris) that use calcium compounds as building blocks in their spines, shells, or other structures. This picture is featured in the 2013 WHOI wall calendar, which is available from the Exhibit Center in Woods Hole. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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