Ocean acidification shakes the foundation of cold-water coral reefs

“The longest-ever simulation of future ocean conditions, undertaken by researchers at Heriot-Watt, shows that the skeletons of deep-sea corals change shape and become 20-30% weaker, putting oases of deep-sea biodiversity at risk.

“Because the ocean absorbs much of the extra carbon dioxide produced by human activities, the chemistry of seawater is changing, a process known as ocean acidification. The researchers, who published their findings in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, have simulated this process in the laboratory: while corals appear to feed and grow well, this hides fundamental changes in the structure of their skeletons. These changes put the whole reef structure at risk.

“Few people are aware that more than half the coral species known to science are found in deep-waters growing in chilly temperatures, and that spectacular reefs supporting a wealth of other marine life grow in the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.”  Sourced through Scoop.it from: news-oceanacidification-icc.org

GR:  Ocean warming and acidification may increase rapidly as polar ice masses melt and fresh water spreads across the surface of the heavier, saltier, oceans.  Corals do indeed appear to be doomed.

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