Until recently, models analyzing the effects of global warming on coral bleaching have been strictly based upon thermal stress projections, but a new study highlights the added impact of ocean acidification, yielding startling results.
Through experimental research, Dr. Ken Anthony led a team of scientists who found that the productivity and calcification rates of corals and important coral reef builders, crustose coralline algae, significantly decline under higher temperatures coupled with increased CO2 and high light exposure, suggesting that high CO2 levels may exacerbate coral bleaching events in warmer waters.
The results project worse conditions than those of previous scientific bleaching experiments, in which only rising sea surface temperature was accounted for and consequently may have greatly underestimated the total effects of climate change on coral reefs. The scientists involved in the study advise “[t]hese results highlight the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions globally. Without political will and commitment to abatement, entire reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef will be severely threatened in coming decades.”
For more on climate change, visit http://oceana.org/climate.
- Photos, Video: Oceana Wraps Up Canary Islands Expedition after Discovering Vast Biodiversity Posted Mon, October 20, 2014
- CEO Note: Wyss Foundation Paves the Way for Oceana to Rebuild Fisheries in Peru, Canada Posted Wed, October 22, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Seafood Fraud Ring Uncovered in Australia, Fish Species Found to Change Skin Color, and More Posted Fri, October 17, 2014
- Ocean News: Sea Turtle Nesting in Florida Sees Steady Increase, 2014 Could Be Hottest on Record, and More Posted Tue, October 21, 2014
- New Shark Repellent May Keep Sharks from Becoming Bycatch Posted Wed, October 22, 2014