What’s eating the sea butterfly?

Updated 27 November 2012
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What’s eating the sea butterfly?

Rising acidity is eating away the shells of tiny snails, known as “sea butterflies,” that live in the seas around Antarctica, leaving them vulnerable to predators and disease, scientists said Sunday.
The study presents rare evidence of living creatures suffering the results of ocean acidification caused by rising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel burning, the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement.
“The finding supports predictions that the impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and food webs may be significant.”
The tiny snail, named for two wing-like appendices, does not necessarily die as a result of losing its shell, but it becomes an easier target for fish and bird predators, as well as infection.
This may have a follow-through effect on other parts of the food chain, of which they form a core element.
The world’s oceans absorb more than a quarter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, which lower the sea water pH.
Since the beginning of the industrial era, our oceans have become 30 percent more acidic, reaching an acidity peak not seen in at least 55 million years, scientists say.
Scientists discovered the effects of acidification on the sea butterflies from samples taken around the Scotia Sea region of the Southern Ocean in February 2008.
The sea snails are an important source of food for fish and birds as well as an indicator of marine ecosystem health.
But until now, there has been little evidence of the impact of ocean acidification on such live organisms in their natural environment and the study supports predictions that acidification could have a significant effect on marine ecosystems.
The researchers examined surface water, where wind causes cold water to be pushed up from deeper water, because it is usually more corrosive to a particular type of calcium carbonate which the sea snails use to build and maintain their shells.
Climate models forecast more intense winds in the Southern Ocean this century if CO2 continues to increase, which will make the mixing of deep water with more acidic surface waters more frequent, the study said.
This will make calcium carbonate reach the upper surface layers of the Southern Ocean by 2050 in winter and by 2100 all year round, said the study’s co-author Dorothee Bakker, research officer at the University of East Anglia.
Since the start of the industrial revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by 30 percent, according to NOAA research.
If CO2 levels continue to rise in the future, surface waters could be almost 150 percent more acidic by the end of this century, which has not been experienced for more than 20 million years.


Where We Are Going Today: House Zofi — showcasing the best Arabic popular culture entertainment content

Updated 5 min 53 sec ago
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Where We Are Going Today: House Zofi — showcasing the best Arabic popular culture entertainment content

JEDDAH: House Zofi offers podcasts and an Arabic audiovisual reference library on pop culture under the motto “Where Heroes are Reborn.”

Its YouTube reference library focuses on music, fantasy and fiction. It has a mission to spread knowledge about pop culture in Arab countries and to showcase the best Arabic popular culture entertainment content.

House Zofi began as a forum for light-hearted discussion and fun debate between friends, but as the popularity of its podcasts grew, so did the vision of providing quality entertainment and discussion with the audience. 

Pop culture has always been popular in the Arabian Gulf and House Zofi sees value in providing these discussions and catering to the audiences’ interests. One House Zofi motto is that “old is gold”, and its target audience is all age groups. If you are into discussing books, video games, anime, movies, music or board games in a fun environment, House Zofi has content for you.

The podcast recording studio opens Monday-Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sundays from 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. House Zofi content can be found online at Housezofi.com and podcasts are available at soundcloud.com/housezofi

Location: Al-Basteen Dist., Jeddah