Corals & Ocean Acidification

Little is known about the impacts of acidification on the photophysiology of corals or, indeed, other invertebrate-algal symbioses. This gap in our knowledge was addressed by measuring the impacts of acidification (pH 7.6 versus pH 8.1) on the photophysiology and health of the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata and its isolated dinoflagellate symbionts (‘zooxanthellae’), and the temperate sea anemone Anthopleura aureoradiata. This research showed that it is likely that increased CO2 will add some benefit to the usually carbon-limited symbiotic zooxanthellae. It also suggests that ocean acidification is not likely to benefit corals however, with compromised calcification rates likely to undermine the viability of the coral.

Michael, D., 2009. Ocean acidification: comparative impacts on the photophysiology of a temperate symbiotic sea anemone and a tropical coral. Victoria University of Wellington, Master’s thesis.

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