Navigation Links
Coral 'can't escape the heat'

The world's corals cannot escape the inevitable impact on them caused by humanity's carbon emissions.

The warning comes from the eminent scientist who has used coral from the Great Barrier Reef to reveal disturbing changes in the chemistry of the world's oceans due to human activity.

Professor Malcolm McCulloch, a geochemist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Australian National University today receives Australia's top honour for earth sciences, the Australian Academy of Science's Jaeger Medal.

"Coral can't escape the heat," he says. "Besides the effects of global warming, corals will not be able to avoid the acidification of the oceans, which is a simple and direct consequence of humanity's interference in the atmosphere. About 40 per cent of the CO2 we release dissolves into the oceans, turning them more acidic."

Analysis of corals taken from the sea off Cairns revealed an increase in acidity of as much as 0.3 pH units since the start of the industrial age, with most of it occurring in the last 50 years, he explains. If seawater acidifies only a few tenths of pH units further many corals, diatoms and shellfish will be unable to form their skeletons and shells, posing the risk of major extinctions and a threat to marine food chains.

"It's getting to the point where, besides reducing our carbon emissions humanity is probably going to have to find large-scale ways of actually removing carbon from the atmosphere," Prof. McCulloch says.

Of the currently raging political debate over carbon trading he states simply "Whatever policy Australia adopts, the outcome must be to reduce our carbon emissions. While they are small in global terms, if we take no action then big emitters like China and India will see that as a justification not to act. It is up to us to show a lead."

Prof. McCulloch warns that the ability of the oceans to soak up man-made carbon is already diminishing, raising the risk that global warming could accelerate.

Prof McCulloch is a geochemist who has made major contributions to both the study of the Earth and environmental issues. His early work at ANU opened new insights in our understanding of the evolution of the Earth's crust. Recently he has studied sea-level changes, past ocean temperatures, the impacts on coral reefs of nutrient and sediment released by human activity on land and the effects of increasing ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The Jaeger Medal commemorates the contribution of Professor John Conrad Jaeger, FAA, FRS, to Australian Earth science. The award is made to a scientist for investigations of a high order into the solid Earth or its oceans carried out in Australia or having some connection with Australian Earth science. The award is normally made every two years.


Contact: Malcolm McCulloch
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies

Related biology news :

1. Coral Disease Handbook: Guidelines for Assessment, Monitoring and Management
2. Large sponges may be reattached to coral reefs
3. The fragility of the worlds coral is revealed through a study of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
4. 4,000-year-old coral beds among worlds oldest living things, prof says
5. New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
6. Gene decides whether coral relative will fuse or fight
7. New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
8. Study says middle class coral reef fish feel the economic squeeze
9. 4 years after tsunami: Corals stage comeback
10. First-ever socioeconomic study on coral reefs points to challenges of coastal resource management
11. Time running out on coral reefs as climate change becomes increasing threat
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/11/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... pleased to announce that it will be a Sponsor of ... to be held November 17-19 in Hamburg ... of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and ... has been able to deliver time and cost savings of ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... 2015 --> ... by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global ... - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to ... The market is estimated to expand at a CAGR ... 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., today announced an ... its DNA library preparation products, including the ThruPLEX ... Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has been optimized for ... libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis of cell-free circulating ... in cancer and other conditions. Eurofins Scientific is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Austin, Texas (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... In his new post, VerMilyea will oversee all IVF lab procedures as ... analysis and fertility preservation. , “We traveled 7,305 miles to Auckland, New Zealand to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... of a new, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) 10000 in the Santiago Marriott. The ... available, and is operated by a world-class team of qualified medical researchers and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Partnership includes an MPP ... u niversity , s Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) Technology ... - up through cost cuts of ... where licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right to make, use ... , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) an ... and monetization of intellectual property, today provided an ... to create shareholder value. Anthony ... on published reports, the total addressable market of ... Spherix will seek to secure fair and reasonable ...
Breaking Biology Technology: