Researchers have feared that by the end of this century, the pH of the ocean surface could decrease from 8.2 to 7.8 – i.e. will become more acidic than it has been for the past 20 million years, as researchers estimate. And this eventually will destroy most of the corals under the sea!
Some coral species are found to be able to survive an increase in the acidity of seawater, even if it strips the individual polyps of the coral’ protective calcium carbonate skeletons, as revealed by a new study conducted by an Israeli zoologist.
This shows that the reef-building corals may be more resilient against climate change compared to what was thought earlier. As the research’s part, the effects of ocean acidification on two Mediterranean coral species — Oculina patagonica and Madracis pharencis – have been studied.
Maoz Fine, a marine zoologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel said,
As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, so do the levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in seawater. This leads to an increase in ocean-borne carbonic acid, which is capable of dissolving calcium carbonate. This is a major problem for corals. Essentially, acidification leads to naked coral.