Researchers have already published one study showing the number and size of California mussels on one island off the coast of Washington state were reduced as the pH decreased, he noted.
O'Donnell made a point of saying his research does not mean that if the ocean's pH decreases, mussels will go extinct.
"It's not so dramatic that they are just going to disappear and fall off the rock, but it's enough to change the dynamic of a mussel bed," O'Donnell said.
Whether it matters if there are fewer mussels and a less diverse coastline, he said, is up to humans to decide.
"As a scientist, the question I would like to know is, a hundred years from now, what will these shorelines look like? As citizens, people should wonder, do we care what they look like? And if things change drastically because of our activities, do we care about that?"
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500