Japan's marine life could see "unprecedented changes" if carbon dioxide emissions keep increasing, a team of British, Japanese and Italian scientists warned in a recently published study.

The academics have been studying the effects of higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere upon marine fauna and flora and surveyed waters around some of Japan's underwater volcanic vents as a "window to the future."

Their findings show rising CO2 emissions in the atmosphere have reduced the ocean's alkalinity (a process more commonly known as "acidification") and harmed biodiversity. In the long run, this could have a negative effect on Japan's prized coral and kelp forests, the scientists warn in their peer-reviewed paper.