Mar092010
Declining Coral Calcification on the Great Barrier Reef
Written by Ava

As many of us know, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia,  is under great distress.

Mony Halls, Sr., DEEP Facilitator and Website/Charity coordinator from the Shark and Coral Conservation team discovered this article online and sent it to me on to stress just how dire the GBR's situation truly is.   

"We feel this article encapsulates our concerns for the re-growth of corals worldwide, so we would be happy to be associated with it," he told me, speaking on behalf of Shark and Coral Conservation.

Reef-building corals are under increasing physiological stress from a changing climate and ocean absorption of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. We investigated 328 colonies of massive Porites corals from 69 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. Their skeletal records show that throughout the GBR, calcification has declined by 14.2% since 1990, predominantly because extension (linear growth) has declined by 13.3%

The data suggest that such a severe and sudden decline in calcification is unprecedented in at least the past 400 years. Calcification increases linearly with increasing large-scale sea surface temperature but responds nonlinearly to annual temperature anomalies. The causes of the decline remain unknown; however, this study suggests that increasing temperature stress and a declining saturation state of seawater aragonite may be diminishing the ability of GBR corals to deposit calcium carbonate.

Authors: Glenn De'ath,* Janice M. Lough, Katharina E. Fabricius

Source: Australian Institute of Marine Science

Monty says Professor Peter Mumby (Research Fellow, Royal Society) of the Exeter University Spacial Ecology Laboratory has already been recruited by the Australian Institute of Marine Science to conduct deeper research into the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef, he says. Peter will be in Townsville, Queensland for a period of 2 to 3 years and has been assigned a research laboratory on the reef itself! 

Thanks for the update!

 


 

 

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