Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increasing Carbon Dioxide Threatens Coral Reefs

Date:
May 18, 2000
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may be having a greater negative effect on marine coral reef communities than had previously been believed. The health of coral reefs affects other components of the marine ecological system. Research was conducted at Biosphere 2 in Arizona.

WASHINGTON - Researchers at Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center have determined that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere may cause more harm to marine coral reef communities than previous research had indicated. Dr. Christopher Langdon of Columbia's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and his research team believe that coral growth could be reduced by as much as 40 percent from pre-industrial levels over the next 65 years.

Related Articles


The team found no evidence that reef organisms are able to acclimate after prolonged exposure to the reduced carbonate levels. "This is the first real evidence that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have a negative impact on a major Earth ecosystem," says Langdon, whose research will be published in the June edition of Global Biogeochemical Cycles, an American Geophysical Union journal that covers global environmental change.

Langdon's team is investigating the impact of changing seawater chemistry on coral reef calcification rates. By mid-century, increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, are expected to reduce by 30 percent the carbonate ion concentration of the surface ocean. When Langdon changed the carbonate concentration in the Biosphere 2 ocean to that projected level, he observed significant reduction in calcification rates for the coral and coralline algae.

Langdon believes the results of his research have some important implications. Coral reefs are natural breakwaters protecting tropical islands and other coastal areas from beach erosion. "While some terrestrial ecosystems may actually benefit from elevated carbon dioxide levels, that does not appear to be the case for shallow marine ecosystems like a coral reef," says Langdon. The impacts are much greater than previously believed, leading to increasing vulnerability of many reefs to other man-caused sources of stress, like over-fishing or pollution, he says.

The project is underway in the ocean ecosystem at Columbia's Biosphere 2 laboratory near Oracle, Arizona. The 700,000-gallon aquarium of artificial seawater with its community of coral reef life mimics key aspects of real world coral reef ecosystems. Biosphere 2 President and Executive Director William Harris says the ability to control precisely the chemical environment and accurately measure changes in the system offers a unique opportunity to conduct research of this kind.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Increasing Carbon Dioxide Threatens Coral Reefs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000516114559.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (2000, May 18). Increasing Carbon Dioxide Threatens Coral Reefs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000516114559.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Increasing Carbon Dioxide Threatens Coral Reefs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000516114559.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins