Ocean Acidification

In Coral Skeletons, Microscopic Portraits of Resilience?

A new study suggests that coral is not as vulnerable to ocean acidification as was previously thought, but warming oceans still pose a huge threat to coral reefs worldwide:

A recent study suggests that ocean acidification may affect coral less than was originally thought, reports Steph Yin for The New York Times. Coral relies on a process called calcification, the creation of a thin layer of skeletal protection each day, to survive. Common belief is that ocean acidification inhibits this process, which is why coral reefs have suffered so much in recent years. As oceans acidify, coral reefs struggle to undergo calcification. But a new study suggests that calcification is still possible in the face of lowering pH levels.

The study has been controversial, many scientists disagreeing with the new hypothesis. But the process is still relatively unknown, despite extensive research. Both sides of the argument agree, though, that warming oceans is the major concern for coral reefs, which bleach when water temperatures become unlivable. Whether or not ocean acidification affects coral, warming oceans do, and both can be traced to carbon dioxide emissions.

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