Can growing acidity in oceans threaten seaweed thickness?
By now, just about everyone is acutely aware of what climate change is: Increasing carbon emissions that thin the protective ozone layer, warm global temperatures and raise sea levels.
Another side effect is growing acidity of our oceans. As the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), one of the world's leading authorities in marine biology, noted, the oceans naturally absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2), which has actually helped defray the amount of CO2 lingering in the atmosphere. But these bodies of water may be starting to reach their tipping point, as too much CO2 absorption can incite chemical changes that lead to greater acidity in the water — potentially posing a major threat to a variety of marine life, including seaweed.
Scientists from the PML and the Universities of Bristol and Chicago have found that increasingly acidic water may be eroding the thickness of many seaweed plants. A comparison between seaweeds grown from 1981 to 1997 and those collected in 2012 found that the latter group were half as thick as the former — a possible, albeit not definitively proven, indicator that acidity in oceans is having a corrosive effect on seaweed thickness.
"This is strong evidence of a significant impact on these important seaweed species and the same story is likely to be found elsewhere around the world as our seas become more acidic," Dr. Sophie McCoy, a PML scientist and the study's lead author, wrote in an official statement. "Anything that makes them more stressed and less able to survive could have ramifications across coastal ecosystems and affect other organisms along marine food chains."
While the ultimate effects of this phenomenon are still likely decades away, it pays to raise awareness now to prevent these problems from growing any more seriously in the future. As we've noted on this blog before, seaweed is not only integral to marine ecosystems, it's also an essential superfood for the human body! Containing antioxidants, phenols and essential fatty acids, seaweed benefits can help nourish a healthy, nutritious lifestyle and adapt to a wide variety of uses.
Here at Seagreens and through the independent Seaweed Health Foundation established in 2010 by Simon Ranger, we work hard to raise awareness of these issues and ensure the sustainability of wild seaweed harvesting and environmental standards. To that end, Seagreens' production has won two important National Awards in Great Britain for environmental sustainability. We are also now working with the Japanese Academy of Agricultural Philosophy and the Biodynamic Association to develop international standards of seaweed cultivation and production.
If you would like to help support these efforts — or are you simply want to gain the health benefits of seaweed as part of your own diet — take a look at Seagreens® seaweed, a natural multi-nutrient whole food, wild harvested in the Grade A pristine waters among Scotland's remote Western Isles to our proprietary Human Food Seaweed™ standards (patents pending).
Independent research studies have found Seagreens to be a market leader in quality and nutrition compared to typical seaweed production. Seagreens seaweed contains all the minerals, trace elements and vitamin groups, and can be can taken as natural health supplements, including The Culinary Ingredient, The Mineral Salt, Food Capsules and more.