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Oyster reefs are regulators of atmospheric CO2

UNC Marine Sciences

Harmful fishing practices and high sediment pollution are disturbing the world's oyster reefs, and these disturbances could significantly impact levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied the carbon buried in 22 different reefs and found that, when disrupted, the reefs become sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Why it matters: Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere can accelerate the effects of climate change, and oyster reefs may have a role in that process.