Last updated October 10, 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