A new study authored by researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz has linked rising carbon dioxide levels to reduced density of coral skeletons, the National Science Foundation has reported.
Ocean acidification has increased greatly in the world’s oceans because of the atmospheric carbon pollution that they absorb. This ocean acidification leads to a lower pH in the water that compromises the structural integrity of coral populations.
The results come from the researchers’ study of Caribbean reef-building coral where ocean springs natural lower the water’s pH. Researchers used instruments to measure seawater chemistry while examining samples of nearby corals’ skeletal cores.
The results show a direct correlation between decreasing coral calcification rates and pH levels.
Image: Coral reef in Florida (Credit: Jerry Reid, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)