Beneath the calm surface, in Papua New Guinea, a sunken volcano releases pure CO2 bubbles, acidifying the seawater at a pH level expected for the end of this century.
The filmmaker Pierre-Yves Cousteau joins the scientific team CARIOCA: “Coral reef acclimatization to ocean acidification at CO2 seeps” in Papua New Guinea. In a previous cruise, the team led by Dr. Riccardo Rodolfo-Metalpa (Institute of Research and Development – ENTROPIE) cross-transplanted resistant and sensitive corals at low and ambient pH conditions. After more than four months the corals were still alive and grew well. Their research will help to identify the phenotypic traits that allow certain coral species to survive and reproduce in seawater naturally enriched in CO2. This will give new insights into the mechanisms that underlie acclimatization and adaptation to climate change. As physiological acclimation is critical in shaping species environmental tolerance this project will link long- and short-term changes in gene expression to changes in organismal physiology and demographic rates, and to shifts in the species composition of coral communities.
Pierre-Yves Cousteau (via Youtube), 18 October 2017. Video.