Tough Shark Skin vs. Acidified Oceans

Shark skin may be tough, but it is not tough enough to handle the acidified oceans of the future.

For nine weeks, researchers have exposed three puffadder skysharks to seawater modified to mimic projected acidic levels in 2300, and what they found out was corrosion had frayed the edges of many denticles (which are the toothlike protrusions that make up sharkskin). Sharks with damaged denticles could be more vulnerable to infection or injury.

“Shark denticles are made from dentin, which we know from human dentistry is susceptible to degradation from carbonic acid,” says Lutz Auerswald, a fisheries biologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. “That could make [sharks] especially vulnerable.”

More details over at ScienceNews.

(Image Credit: Albert kok/ Wikimedia Commons)

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