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Coral ecosystem to be affected by increasing ocean acidification
Coral ecosystem diversity and resilience would be impacted by acidification by the end of the century, according to a new research released by the University of Miami, Australian Institute and Max Planck Institute.
The new study, which involved researchers from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbioology in Germany, concludes that: "ocean acification, along with increased ocean temperatures, will likely severely reduce the diversity and resilience of coral reef ecosystems within this century."
The team of scientists studied three natural vocanic CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea and laid emphasise on the impact which long-term exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide and low pH have on Indo-Pacific coral reefs. It is projected that such a condition would occur by the end of the century, especially with the increase in man-made CO2 emmission, which alter the current pH level of seawater, having the end result of turning the ocean acidic.
Chris Langdon, one of the researchers from the University of Miami says, "These 'Champagne reefs' are natural analogs of how coral reefs may look in 100 years if ocean acification conditions continue to get worse."
The research funded by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the University of Miami, and the Max-Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology through the Bioacid Project, showed that reef development would cease at a pH below 7.7.
The paper titled, Losers and winners in coral reefs acclimatized to elevated carbon dioxide concentrations, shows a shift in the composition of coral species and reductions in biodiversity and recruitment on the reef as pH declined from a 8.1 to 7.8.
The paper’s co-authors include Remy Okazaki and Nancy Muehllehner from the University of Miami, Katharina Fabricius, Sven Uthicke, Craig Humphrey, Sam Noonan, Glenn De¢ath and Janice Lough from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and Martin Glas from Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology.
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