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Ocean acidification is predicted to impact all areas of the oceans and affect a diversity of marine organisms.
However, the diversity of responses among species prevents clear predictions about the impact of acidification at the ecosystem level.
These results suggest that a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function is expected under extreme acidification scenarios.
Understanding how accelerating environmental change will affect biodiversity and ecosystem function is crucial for effective management (1).
Environmental change can cause a restructuring of ecological communities and a reduction of ecosystem function through the loss of stress-intolerant species (2).
Variation in sensitivity to environmental change could potentially buffer the effects of species loss on ecosystems through compensatory dynamics among functionally similar species (3–5).
Numerous taxa were absent in the extreme low p H zones.However, compensation is much less likely to stabilize ecosystem function if numerous species have similar responses to the environmental change (6).In such cases, entire functional groups may be affected negatively by environmental stress (7).To better understand the potential for ecological shifts and compensation among species (14) to stabilize ecosystem function, we need to examine the responses of multispecies assemblages to ocean acidification.The ecosystem surrounding near shore volcanic CO vents in the Mediterranean Sea is a primary example of a naturally acidified marine ecosystem (15) that is not confounded with other environmental factors such as temperature or upwelling (16, 17).