Some corals may survive acidification caused by rising CO2

Several studies have shown that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are acidifying the world’s oceans. This is significant for coral reefs because acidification strips carbonate ions from seawater, making it more difficult for corals to build the calcium carbonate skeletons that serve as their structural basis. Research has shown that many species of coral, as well as other marine microorganisms, fare quite poorly under the increasingly acidic conditions forecast by some models. However, the news may not be bad for all types of corals. A study published in the March 30 issue of the journal Science, suggests that some corals may weather acidification better than others.

Israeli biologists Maoz Fine and Dan Tchernov found that some stony corals can survive increased acidity by morphing into soft-bodied polyp forms. The corals produce hard skeletons again once pH level returns to normal.

mongabay.com, 29 March 2007. Article.

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