What is ocean acidification?
The increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is a result of the burning of fossil fuels. This not only has an effect on the climate but also on the oceans. The excess CO2 is partially absorbed by the oceans. This leads to a higher acidity of the oceans and thus constitutes a major potential threat to the marine biodiversity and the marine ecosystem.

Effects of ocean acidification

Due to the higher acidity of the oceans there is less carbonate available to the organisms to build their calcareous skeletons and hence become softer. Especially the diatoms, but also corals, starfish and crustaceans like mussels are sensitive to the ocean acidification. Since diatoms form the base of the food chain in the oceans, there is a potential danger that ocean acidification may have significant implications for our food supply.

kiezelwieren-ProtistologieAndAquatische Ecologie-Ugent
Diatoms - Protistologie&AquatischeEcologie-UGent


The problem of acidification is internationally addressed and on the agenda of various international fora such as the Convention and Protocol of London, the Biodiversity Convention and the "Regular Process". The Marine Environment service ensures that the Belgian standpoints are in harmony with each other in these different fora.