Coral reef pH altered in situ

A Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment experiment that manipulates seawater pH on a coral reef flat shows that the level of ocean acidification at which net dissolution of corals occurs may arrive much sooner than expected.

Coral reefs are at the forefront of public perception about the impacts of climate change in the world’s oceans. Along with warming, which induces coral bleaching and mortality, the decreasing pH of seawater due to ocean acidification is expected to have dire consequences for coral reefs as we know them, in part through lower availability of carbonate ions (CO32–), which are used in combination with calcium ions (Ca2+) by corals for skeletal growth. Writing in Nature Ecology & Evolution, Kline et al. report their use of Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment (FOCE) technology to investigate coral calcification and dissolution in an in situ ocean acidification experiment on a coral reef flat on the Great Barrier Reef, over a period of 200 d. Although their study is of a single coral species in a single location, the realistic setting makes this study particularly relevant.

Stark J. S. & Langdon C., 2019. Coral reef pH altered in situ. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3: 1380–1381. Article (subscription required).

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