Fleshy Corals Could Outcompete Hard Corals in More Acidic Ocean

Coral reefs as we know them are dying. These fragile yet vital ecosystems are under assault from a vast array of forces, from local problems such as pollution and invasive species, to global warming, ocean acidification, and other widespread aggressors.

In the prestigious scientific journal Nature, preeminent coral reef scientists recently told the world that it’s time for a change in expectations: “We have to accept that coral reefs around the world are transforming rapidly into a newly emerging ecosystem unlike anything humans have experienced before.”

Coral reefs as we know them are dying. These fragile yet vital ecosystems are under assault from a vast array of forces, from local problems such as pollution and invasive species, to global warming, ocean acidification, and other widespread aggressors. But when corals die, they will not leave a void: other species will take their place. But what might this newly emerging ecosystem look like?

Ongoing research by Maggie Johnson, a reef ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Marine Global Earth Observatory in Bocas del Toro, Panama, is providing some clues.

“I’m interested in trying to understand how increasing acidity is affecting coral reefs now, and what that means for the future for different organisms,” Johnson says.

Read Full Story: Hakai Magazine/Christie Wilcox

Photo: Kelsey Roberts USGS/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

To view the Creative Commons license for the image, click here.

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Undoubtedly...

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