Hot Topics: Corroding Corals - Oceana USA
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October 13, 2008

Hot Topics: Corroding Corals

Cold-water corals (also known as deep-sea corals) are in as much danger from the corrosive effects of ocean acidification as those found in tropical waters. Scientist James Orr recently found that population reductions in Arctic cold-water corals were analogous to those expected to occur in tropical corals. Orr and other scientists determined that by 2100, more than two-thirds of cold-water corals will be in waters corrosive to their calcium carbonate skeletons. This is based upon calculations and model projections regarding future alterations in the carbonate saturation state of the ocean. Unfortunately, both tropical and cold-water corals face extinction due to the increasing acidity of the oceans. Orr affirms, “[w]e have almost reached the point of no return for corals.” Compared to levels of ocean acidity before the industrial revolution, today’s ocean is already 30% more acidic and getting worse, compelling scientists to call for more emphasis on the ocean acidification problem. Hopefully law makers will soon agree.For more on climate change, see