Ocean Acidification Endangers Coral Reef Systems: New Research Found

The latest study conducted by the UWA (University of Western Australia) has found the prospect of the global coral reefs is under peril from ocean acidification with several corals not able to become accustomed to the conditions. The study was published in Nature Climate Change. The research found out the ability of coral reefs to acclimatize to ocean acidification by analyzing the chemistry in the corals’ calcifying fluid. Malcolm McCulloch—Professor and ARC Laureate Fellow from the UWA’s Oceans—stated the scientists studied two types of calcifying algae and four species of coral in a year-long test. Professor McCulloch said, “We found that coralline algae and corals were unable to acclimatize to ocean acidification.”

“The impacts of ocean acidification on the calcifying fluid were fast and continued after 1 Year in the experimental conditions. Two coral species that were immune to ocean acidification were immune from the beginning while the two sensitive ones were impacted from the beginning and were unable to acclimatize. The two species immune to ocean acidification utilized different mechanisms to ease the impacts of ocean acidification,” Professor McCulloch stated. Dr. Steeve Comeau—Lead Author from the Sorbonne University in France—said the outcomes validated past research that discovered coral reefs were beneath threat from ocean acidification.

On a similar note, research showed that internal control aids the corals in resisting acidification process. Researchers from the ARC Coral CoE (Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies) at the UWA found that some corals are capable of combating the effects of ocean acidification process by monitoring their own chemistry. Apparently, coral reefs have an important role in guarding coastlines against damage induced by waves and storms, but also offer shelter and habitat for many marine organisms. Nevertheless, main environmental challenges like climate change have threatened the survival of coral reefs globally.