This Coral Species Can Protect Itself Against Ocean Acidification

Written by on October 14, 2015 in Coral Reefs, Marine Life

One species of coral can protect itself against ocean acidification, according to new research from the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland.

Porites cylindrica. Photo credit: NPS via Wikimedia Commons.

Porites cylindrica. Photo credit: NPS via Wikimedia Commons.

Researchers recently discovered that Porites cylindrica growing in the Heron Island Lagoon and the Great Barrier Reef contain a “calcifying fluid” that maintains a constant internal pH level that isn’t influenced by the pH level in surrounding waters. This reservoir allowed the coral to keep growing, even in relatively acidic waters.

“The regulatory mechanism allows the coral to grow at a relatively constant rate, suggesting it may be more resilient to the effects of ocean acidification than previously thought,” lead author Lucy Georgiou from UWA’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies explained in a news release.

The researchers don’t yet know if this particular trait is species-specific or limited to corals that live in areas where pH levels fluctuate a lot, but it is an encouraging discovery.

“The next step in this research is to find out if Porites cylindrica colonies from more stable environments also have the ability to adapt and ‘hold up’ to the threats of ocean acidification,” Georgiou explained. “We also need to explore whether rising sea temperatures impacts their ability to maintain a constant internal pH level.”

To learn more:

Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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  1. Ashleigh Munton says:

    This was an amazing discovery! As a coral keeping hobbyist and a marine biology student, I am consistently worried that there will not be enough corals that will survive the ocean rise in acidity. I am hoping that one day the beautiful coral reefs we have on Earth will not have to be only remembered by pictures. I am hoping to dive and experience first hand the beauty of coral reefs all over the Globe. Thank you for reminding people that some species will be resilient enough that they will grow and change as the environment does.

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