The world's oceans are getting more acidic and it's hurting the whole aquatic food chain.

Scientists are racing to learn more about ocean acidification and now they're getting help from an actual race boat.

The Clipper "Round the World" yacht race has joined forces with researchers in Washington. On the next leg from Seattle to New York City, the yacht "Visit Seattle" will have a pH sensor attached to it. It will take readings throughout the journey.

The effort was spearheaded by Seattle Port Commissioner Fred Felleman, whose idea took a year to materialize. Felleman has often championed issues related to water quality and the health of orcas, in particular.

Ocean acidification is a change in ocean chemistry resulting from the absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, threatening aquatic ecosystems in particular because it makes it difficult for shellfish to grow shells.

Tiny organisms called pteropods are hit quite hard. They are at the base of the food chain and important food for herring and salmon.

The readings taken by the Clipper vessel will become part of the worldwide database.