Nathaniel R. Mollica, Weifu Guo, Anne L. Cohen, Kuo-Fang Huang, Gavin L. Foster, Hannah K. Donald, Andrew R. Solow

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Published date January 29, 2018

Ocean acidification affects coral growth by reducing skeletal density

  • States that ocean acidification (OA) threatens coral reef futures by reducing the concentration of carbonate ions that corals need to construct their skeletons
  • States that quantitative predictions of reef futures under OA are confounded by mixed responses of corals to OA in experiments and field observations
  • Models the skeletal growth of a dominant reef-building coral, Porites, as a function of seawater chemistry and validated the model against observational data
  • Shows that OA directly and negatively affects one component of the two-step growth process (density) but not the other (linear extension)
  • Shows that skeletal density of Porites corals could decline by up to 20.3% over the 21st century solely due to OA