Changes in the healing rate of Ventricaria ventricosa in acidified ocean water
Given the amount of CO2 currently being absorbed by the ocean, there is a great deal of research studying the effects of ocean acidification on a variety of species. Considering the relationship between pH and levels of calcium present in the ocean water, the healing process of Ventricaria ventricosa is hypothesized to be negatively affected by the decreased pH that is projected for the ocean. V. ventricosa is a green alga (Chlorophyta) and one of the largest unicellular organisms. When punctured, V. ventricosa forms an aggregation ring around the wound which contracts in order to heal the membrane. This research measured the healing rate of V. ventricosa in present day ocean water (pH=8.05) as well as acidified ocean water (pH less than 7.0). Individuals of V. ventricosa in present pH water conditions were able to heal the puncture wound within 120 minutes, while the individuals in acidified ocean water were not able to heal themselves within the same time frame. It is unknown whether the V. ventricosa would eventually heal themselves over a longer period of time or given a greater volume of ocean water; however it is apparent that the decreased levels of calcium in the acidified water had a negative effect on the healing process of V. ventricosa. Ocean acidification is likely to affect the basic biological functioning of a variety of marine life, which will face severe difficulties adapting to the acidified ocean water.
This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XIII (Spring 2013)19: 33-38 from CIEE Bonaire.