sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Can coral reefs escape climatic devastation?
Can coral reefs escape climatic devastation?

'Healthy Coral reef'    ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©

Corals might be better placed to deal with gradual acidification of the world’s oceans than previously believed which gives rise to hopes that coral reefs might escape climatic acidification.

In new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, an international scientific team has identified a powerful internal mechanism that could enable some corals and their symbiotic algae to counter the adverse impact of a more acidic ocean.

As humans release ever-larger amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, besides warming the planet, the gas is also turning the world’s oceans more acidic – at rates thought to far exceed those seen during past major extinctions of life. This has prompted strong scientific interest in finding out which species are most vulnerable, and which can handle the changed conditions.

In groundbreaking research, a team of scientists from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, at the University of Western Australia and France’s Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, has shown that some marine organisms that form calcium carbonate skeletons have an in-built mechanism to cope with ocean acidification – which others appear to lack.

'The good news is that most corals appear to have this internal ability to buffer rising acidity of seawater and still form good, solid skeletons,' says Professor Malcolm McCulloch of CoECRS and UWA. 'Marine organisms that form calcium carbonate skeletons generally produce it in one of two forms, known as aragonite and calcite.

Healthy coral -  ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©   Click Here to view large photo
'Our research broadly suggests that those with skeletons made of aragonite have the coping mechanism – while those that follow the calcite pathway generally do less well under more acidic conditions.'

The aragonite calcifiers – such as the well-known corals Porites and Acropora – have molecular ‘pumps’ that enable them to regulate their internal acid balance, which buffers them from the external changes in seawater pH.

'But the picture for coral reefs as a whole isn’t quite so straightforward, as the ‘glue’ that holds coral reefs together – coralline algae – appear to be vulnerable to rising acidity,' Professor McCulloch explains.

Also of concern is that a large class of plankton, floating in the open oceans and forming a vital component of marine food webs, appears equally vulnerable to acidification. If so, this could be serious not only for marine life that feeds on them – but also for humans, as it could impair the oceans’ ability to soak up increased volumes of CO2 from the atmosphere. This would cause global warming to accelerate.

Ironically, an added plus is that warming oceans may increase the rates of coral growth, especially in corals now living in cooler waters, he says.

However, the big unknown remaining is whether corals can adapt to global warming, which is now occurring at an unprecedented rate – at about two orders of magnitude faster than occurred with the ending of the last Ice Age.

'This is crucial since, if corals are bleached by the sudden arrival of hot ocean water and lose the symbiotic algae which are their main source of energy, they will still die,' he cautions.

'It’s a more complicated picture, but broadly it means that there are going to be winners and losers in the oceans as its chemistry is modified by human activities – this could have the effect of altering major ocean ecosystems on which both we and a large part of marine life depend.'

The researchers conclude 'Although our results indicate that up-regulation of pH at the site of calcification provides corals with enhanced resilience to the effects of ocean acidification, the overall health of coral reef systems is still largely dependent on the compounding effects of increasing thermal stress from global warming and local environmental impacts, such as terrestrial runoff, pollution and overfishing.'

Their paper, 'Coral resilience to ocean acidification and global warming through pH up-regulation' by Malcolm McCulloch, Jim Falter, Julie Trotter, and Paolo Montagna, appears in the latest issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.


by Coral COE

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=95853

9:17 PM Sun 8 Apr 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World



America's Cup: Alameda makes overtures on Venue hosting for San Fran *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,


























2014 Pacific Cup - Scarlet Runner wins by Vanessa Yates, Hawaii






































Plastic Classic takes place at Mariposa Hunters Point YC
Six Metre European Championship - No champion declared for 2014
J/Teams sail tough Chicago Mackinac Race
Anna Tunnicliffe wins first event of Reebok Cross Fit Games + Video
2014 Pacific Cup - Skill and luck required for victory
Six Metre European Championship - Action resumes on day 4
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 4
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam on the horizon
Rolex Big Boat Series - Golden Jubilee to take place this September
DH Pacific Cup - Running with the pack + Video
Women's Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Testing day in Vannes
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Ireland establishes solid lead
International Moth Worlds: Outteridge charges into the lead + Video
Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race - First blood to Team Brunel
ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Competition heats up on day 2
Laser Radial World Championships - Competition aplenty on day 3 +Video
Extreme Sailing Series - Penultimate Act to take place in Nice
Leukemia Cup - Images by Leighton O'Connor
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Meeting of the grand designs
29er North American Championship - Final series kicks off
29er World Championship 2014 set to start in Kingston, Ontario   
Barcelona and Parnu chosen for 2015 ORC championship events   
2014 Race for Rady Yacht Race - Benefiting Rady Children’s hospital   
CMRC Summer Invitational Series - Doubleheader events start tomorrow   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 3   
Sailing through STEM Night at California YC   
Six Metre European Championship - High temps and little wind on day 3   
Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Light wind opener in Vannes   
International Moth Worlds: Rashley ahead as Aussies close in   
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Unsatisfactory conditions on day 4   
ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - American unbeatable on day 1   
RS Feva World Championships - All set at Yacht Club de Carnac   
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards - Nominations now open   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds - Steady winds on day 2 + Video   
29er North American Open Championship - Qualifying series wraps up   
Opening ceremony O'pen Bic World Cup, Travemunde Week, Germany   
Six Metre Europeans - Wind fails to make an appearance on day 2   
Edgartown Race Weekend - Let the sailing (and good times) begin   
ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Action commences July 23   
International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT