Christina said: “If all smell molecules in the oceans would be affected in a similar way, the chemical communication in the ocean would be completely disrupted. It would be comparable to a world without light or sound for us humans.
“Luckily there are many different chemicals involved in chemical communication and a complete “black-out” is unlikely. However, only few signalling molecules are actually known in marine organisms and peptides are a very important class, so the implications of this research could be big.” Christina has been working on the paper throughout her PhD, along with supervisors Professor Mark Lorch, Chemistry, Dr David Benoit, Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Dr Jörg Hardege, Reader in Chemical Ecology.
Called ‘Ocean acidification affects marine chemical communication by changing structure and function of peptide signalling molecules,’ it is also the first research of its kind to use a cross discipline combination of research methods, including quantum chemical calculations and chemical and biological techniques.
Christina said: “The combination of computational, chemical and biological techniques has helped to reveal the molecular effects and functional consequences on smell molecules as the pH in the ocean changes. This is a completely new and additional mechanism of how ocean acidification can affect marine life.”