Carbon emissions hurting coral recruitment

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
November 08, 2010



While research has shown that ocean acidification from rising CO2 levels in the ocean imperils the growth and survival mature coral reefs, a new study has found that it may also negatively impact burgeoning corals, by significantly lowering the success of coral recruitment. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has found that coral recruitment could fall by 73% over the next century due to increasing acidification.

"Ocean acidification is widely viewed as an emerging threat to coral reefs," said lead author and graduation student from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Rebecca Albright in a press release. "Our study is one of the first to document the impacts of ocean acidification on coral recruitment."

Looking at Elkhorn corals (Acropora palmate), a keystone reef-building coral species, researchers found that declining pH levels due to an increase in carbon dioxide in the oceans hit the coral species' ability to fertilize, its larva to settle, and even when they fertilized and settled to survive in the long-term.

"Reproductive failure of young coral species is an increasing concern since reefs are already highly stressed from bleaching, hurricanes, disease and poor water quality," said co-author Chris Langdon, associate professor at the Rosenstiel School.

Anthropogenic carbon emissions are changing the chemistry of the ocean, impacting not only coral reefs—the most biodiverse ecosystems in the oceans—but a wide variety of marine species.







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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (November 08, 2010).

Carbon emissions hurting coral recruitment .

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1108-hance_coral_recruitment.html