Snail's tale a warning for the Pacific coast

Craig Welch
planktonic snail

For the first time, scientists have documented that souring seas caused by carbon-dioxide emissions are dissolving pteropods in the wild right now along the U. S. West Coast. That is damaging a potentially important link in the marine food web far sooner than expected.

"What we found was just amazing to us," said Richard Feely, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, who helped collect the live samples. "We did the most thorough analysis that's ever been done and found extensive impacts on marine life in the field from ocean acidification."

This is the broadest and most detailed indication that acidification is already damaging native creatures in the wild.