Navigation Links
Coral reefs unlikely to survive in acid oceans
Date:12/14/2007

Stanford, CA Carbon emissions from human activities are not just heating up the globe, they are changing the oceans chemistry. This could soon be fatal to coral reefs, which are havens for marine biodiversity and underpin the economies of many coastal communities. Scientists from the Carnegie Institutions Department of Global Ecology have calculated that if current carbon dioxide emission trends continue, by mid-century 98% of present-day reef habitats will be bathed in water too acidic for reef growth. Among the first victims will be Australias Great Barrier Reef, the worlds largest organic structure.

Chemical oceanographers Ken Caldeira and Long Cao are presenting their results in a multi-author paper in the December 14 issue of Science* and at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on the same date. The work is based on computer simulations of ocean chemistry under levels of atmospheric CO2 ranging from 280 parts per million (pre-industrial levels) to 5000 ppm. Present levels are 380 ppm and rapidly rising due to accelerating emissions from human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels.

About a third of the carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, says Caldeira, which helps slow greenhouse warming, but is a major pollutant of the oceans. The absorbed CO2 produces carbonic acid, the same acid that gives soft drinks their fizz, making certain minerals called carbonate minerals dissolve more readily in seawater. This is especially true for aragonite, the mineral used by corals and many other marine organisms to grow their skeletons.

Before the industrial revolution, over 98% of warm water coral reefs were bathed with open ocean waters 3.5 times supersaturated with aragonite, meaning that corals could easily extract it to build reefs, says Cao. But if atmospheric CO2 stabilizes at 550 ppm -- and even that would take concerted international effort to achieve -- no existing coral reef will remain in such an environment. The chemical changes will impact some regions sooner than others. At greatest risk are the Great Barrier Reef and the Caribbean Sea.

Carbon dioxides chemical effects on the ocean are largely independent of its effects on climate, so measures to mitigate warming short of reducing emissions will be of little help in slowing acidification, the researchers say. In fact, impending chemical changes may require emissions cuts even more drastic than those for climate alone.

These changes come at a time when reefs are already stressed by climate change, overfishing, and other types of pollution, says Caldeira, so unless we take action soon there is a very real possibility that coral reefs and everything that depends on them will not survive this century.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ken Caldeira
kcaldeira@stanford.edu
650-704-7212
Carnegie Institution  
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Coral reef fish harbor an unexpectedly high biodiversity of parasites
2. Why do so many species live in tropical forests and coral reefs?
3. Coral reefs will be permanently damaged without urgent action
4. TAU professor finds global warming is melting soft coral
5. New south Florida nursery to focus on staghorn corals
6. Wildlife Conservation Society study finds seasonal seas save corals with tough love
7. Its official: The carbon crisis is lethal for coral reefs
8. Immediate action needed to save corals from climate change
9. Tropical crab invades Georgia oyster reefs -- but the long-term impact cant be predicted
10. Giant panda can survive
11. Device helps patients survive, regain function til transplant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Coral reefs unlikely to survive in acid oceans
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company ... North America , today announced a Series ... acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates ... tools to transform population health activities through the collection ... higi collects and secures data today on ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric ... of around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 ... market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Optimove , provider ... retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced ... and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these ... and replenishment recommendations to their customers based not ... of customer intent drawn from a complex web ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... why mass flow controllers based on capillary thermal mass flow technology provide exponentially ... flow control applications. Over 80% of all industrial processes—such as those involving ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... , April 27, 2017  Pendant Biosciences, Inc. ... innovative surface modification and drug delivery technologies, today announced ... Innovation, JLABS @ Toronto . ... Officer of Pendant Biosciences, noted, "We are excited to ... community, and are honored to be the ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... CA, USA (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 ... ... seminar on FDA’s GMP expectations for phase I clinical trials comes to Tampa, ... by various biotechnology and pharma professionals representing FDA regulated organizations such as Pfizer ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... Va. (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... make headlines and drive high-level conversations among healthcare industry stakeholders, the discussion surrounding ... Environment – taking place May 15-18, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. Hosted by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: