Another “Well, duh!” piece. The White Cliffs of Dover and other massive chalk and limestone deposits are basically built from the shell casings of coccolithophores which lived – and thrived – when earth’s atmospheric CO2 levels were much, much higher than any anticipated in the next few centuries.
MARINE life may be more tolerant of climate change than previously thought, with new research showing the world’s most important calcifying organism can adapt to ocean acidification.
In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience today, German scientists found the key micro-organism, a species of coccolithophore important in burying carbon in rocks, evolved a tolerance to higher carbon-dioxide levels over multiple generations, whereas previous studies had tended to look only at a single generation.
Under normal conditions, the oceans absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. Tiny organisms living in surface waters use carbon, oxygen and calcium to build their skeletons through a process known as calcification. When they die, those skeletons and other debris sink to the bottom of the ocean where they are buried.
When the ocean is rich in nutrients, those micro-organisms can become so abundant that their “blooms” are visible from space as milky trails in the water. Thus, large amounts of carbon are removed from circulation.