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Human impact is causing lower oxygen and higher carbon dioxide levels in coastal water bodies. Increased levels of carbon dioxide cause the water to become more acidic, having dramatic effects on the lifestyles of the wildlife that call these regions home. The problems are expected to worsen if steps arenÂt taken to reduce greenhouse emissions and minimize nutrient-rich run-off from developed areas along our coastlines. Louis Burnett, professor of biology and director of the Grice Marine Laboratory of the College of Charleston, and Karen Burnett, research associate professor at Grice Marine Laboratory of the College of Charleston, study the effects of low oxygen and high carbon dioxide on organismsÂ immune systems. They have found that organisms in these conditions canÂt fight off infections as well as animals living in oxygen rich, low carbon dioxide environments. The Burnetts will be presenting their findings at the Global Change and Global Science: Comparative Physiology in a Changing World conference from August 4-7, 2010 in Westminster, Colorado. This conference is in part sponsored by the American Physiological Society (http://www.the-aps.org).
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