Research reveals coral under greater threat

Scientists have found rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are likely to be much more damaging to coral reefs than first thought.

Researchers from the Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies subjected corals to the combined effects of global warming and ocean acidification for eight weeks and found coral bleaching was far more severe that predicted.

Ocean acidification is caused by increased carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean.

Project leader Dr Ken Anthony says the combined effect of the two factors is alarming.

“Some ball park figures, we’re looking at significant increase, so it’s not just a small percentage increase, it’s quite measurable,” he said.

“So if we just projected or predicted coral bleaching based on global warming we would be underestimating it by quite a lot.”

ABC News, 29 October 2008. Article.

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