Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Proton flux hypothesis' offers new explanation for effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs

Date:
September 7, 2011
Source:
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST
Summary:
A researcher in Hawaii has come up with a new explanation for the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs: the "proton flux hypothesis" is that calcification of coral skeletons are dependent on the passage of hydrogen ions between the water column and the coral tissue.

A researcher at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, an organized research unit in the University of Hawai'i at Manoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, has come up with a new explanation for the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising due to the burning of fossil fuels. Increased absorption of this carbon by the oceans is lowering the seawater pH (the scale which measures how acidic or basic a substance is) and aragonite saturation state in a process known as ocean acidification. Aragonite is the mineral form of calcium carbonate that is laid down by corals to build their hard skeleton. Researchers wanted to know how the declining saturation state of this important mineral would impact living coral populations.

Much of the previous research has been centered on the relationship between coral growth and aragonite levels in the surface waters of the sea. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between increased acidification, aragonite saturation, and declining coral growth, but the process is not well understood. Various experiments designed to evaluate the relative importance of this process have led to opposing conclusions.

A recent reanalysis conducted by Dr. Paul Jokiel from the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) suggests that the primary effect of ocean acidification on coral growth is to interfere with the transfer of hydrogen ions between the water column and the coral tissue. Jokiel re-evaluated the relevant data in order to synthesize some of the conflicting results from previous ocean acidification studies. As a result, Jokiel came up with the "proton flux hypothesis" which offers an explanation for the reduction in calcification of corals caused by ocean acidification.

In the past, scientists have focused on processes at the coral tissues. The alternative provided by Jokiel's "proton flux hypothesis" is that calcification of coral skeletons are dependent on the passage of hydrogen ions between the water column and the coral tissue. This process ultimately disrupts corals' ability to create an aragonite skeleton. Lowered calcification rates are problematic for our coral reefs because it creates weakened coral skeletons leaving them susceptible to breakage, and decreasing protection.

Dr. Jokiel is excited about this work; he states that "this hypothesis provides new insights into the importance of ocean acidification and temperature on coral reefs. The model is a radical departure from previous thought, but is consistent with existing observations and warrants testing in future studies." In general, this hypothesis does not change the general conclusions that increased ocean acidification is lowering coral growth throughout the world, but rather describes the mechanism involved.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul Louis Jokiel. Ocean Acidification and Control of Reef Coral Calcification by Boundary Layer Limitation of Proton Flux. Bulletin of Marine Science, 2011; 87 (3): 639 DOI: 10.5343/bms.2010.1107

Cite This Page:

University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. "'Proton flux hypothesis' offers new explanation for effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830092401.htm>.
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. (2011, September 7). 'Proton flux hypothesis' offers new explanation for effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830092401.htm
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST. "'Proton flux hypothesis' offers new explanation for effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830092401.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. 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:
from the past week

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