A Silver Lining for Coral: Ocean Acidification Could Slow Down Coral Disease

Coral reefs face intensifying struggles as greenhouse gases warm and acidify the ocean, but new research suggests a potential silver lining: Some coral diseases might also dwindle amid environmental change.

Coral reefs face intensifying struggles as greenhouse gases warm and acidify the ocean, but new research suggests a potential silver lining: Some coral diseases might also dwindle amid environmental change.
A controlled lab study led by Mote Marine Laboratory and published June 1 in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE revealed that black band disease was less deadly to mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) as water acidified, or decreased in pH. Scientists from Mote and the University of South Carolina, and students from the University of Rhode Island, University of New Hampshire, University of Hawaii and Unity College in Maine conducted the study.
The ocean’s pH is decreasing through the process of ocean acidification (OA) driven by excess carbon dioxide, the same greenhouse gas driving temperature increases worldwide. OA may weaken or dissolve corals’ hard skeletons and cause other changes in multiple marine species. Warming water stresses corals, causing them to lose the vital algae in their tissues. Coral diseases, another major threat, may worsen in corals stressed by warming water temperatures, but few studies have examined how these diseases could change amid low pH levels expected with OA.
Read Full Story: Phys.org/Mote Marine Laboratory
Photo: Neville Wootton/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
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Comments
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brigitte-perreault
brigitte-perreault

the daily catch always provides such great content!

brigitte-perreault
brigitte-perreault

hope? a silver lining? let's hope so. I love how nature is so resilient...
"Coral reefs face intensifying struggles as greenhouse gases warm and acidify the ocean, but new research suggests a potential silver lining: Some coral diseases might also dwindle amid environmental change."

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