Another week another piece of unsettling news regarding climate change and the future of our oceans. This time the news comes from the American Geophysical Union who met last week in San Francisco, where it was announced that the amount of CO2 that the oceans are absorbing is a very real threat to the remaining coral reefs on the planet.
The information comes from a US-Mexican team of researchers studying coral reef on the Yucatán coast. Their focus has been 10 natural springs that have a low pH and therefore a low carbonate saturation. These springs have existed for thousands of years, and are seen as an example of what will eventually be characteristic of the entire ocean ecosystem “as increased carbon dioxide absorption from the air reacts with water and carbonate ions to form bicarbonate ions.”
Although researchers can report some good news because at least 6 types of coral have proven they can survive such a state, this is not the entire story. The danger is that such an expansion of this type of water would ruin the biodiversity of the marine eco-system and as Adina Paytan of UC Santa Cruz explains, “the reef’s framework may be compromised.”
It all spells more bad news when it comes to the future of the invaluable coral reefs that remain on the planet and we the humans who depend on a healthy marine ecosystem for survival.
Photo by USFWS Pacific RePublished Under Creative Commons License
Source: Physics Today
E. D. Crook, D. Potts, M. Rebolledo-Vieyra, L. Hernandez, & A. Paytan (2011). Calcifying coral abundance near low-pH springs: implications for future ocean acidification Coral Reefs : 10.1007/s00338-011-0839-y