Increased ocean acidification is a major concern since the prosess is more rapid than than similar changes experienced over the past 100 000 years. In addition, the absorption is faster in colder water. The Ocean acidification may potentially have huge effects on the ecosystem Acidification will negatively affect phytoplankton (coccolithophores), corals, molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans. Recent research also indicates that eggs and larvae of certain fish species may be endangered.
The rapid changes in the ocean carbon chemistry give vulnerable species small possibilities to adapt, and extensive changes in the marine ecosystems can be expected (e.g Orr et al. 2009, Richardson et al. 2009). More about possible effects on the ecosystem components are given in chapter Current and expected state of the ecosystem - Some aspects of possible long-term future changes in the ecosystem - Possible effects of ocean acidification.
Limited scientific knowledge
There is limited scientific knowledge about effects of elevated CO2 in the oceans. The main reason is that only very recently the topic and the seriousness of direct consequences of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on the marine life have come to full attention of policymakers and scientists. In the Monaco declaration (2008), 155 scientists from 55 countries stated their concern about the rapid change in ocean acidification and the effect this can have on marine ecosystems and fisheries.
To face the problems ocean acidification may cause in near future in the Barents Sea, there is a critical need to increase the effort on monitoring in addition to research. There is a need for the development of highly resolved monitoring of atmospheric and surface water partial pressure of CO2, carbonate alkalinity and pH at spatial and temporal scales over long periods of time We furthermore need to develop monitoring of the combined effects on key species and ecosystems of acidification and other simultaneous stressors.