Coral Larvae Tolerate Acidic Oceans

Photo Credit: George Cathcart A new study from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies published in the journal Marine Ecology has shown that corals can survive the early stages of their development even under the tough conditions that rising carbon emissions will impose on them.

Dr Andrew Baird, Principal Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University explained, “The prevailing view is that ocean acidification will act like a toxin to corals, but we were unconvinced by results from previous work on young corals and ocean acidification so we tested critical early stages of development in several coral species at several different acid (or ‘pH’) concentrations of seawater. Our results showed no clear response to increasing ocean acidification in any of the stages, or for any of the coral species,” said Dr Baird. “In fact, in only one of nine experiments did we get the response expected if CO2 was acting like a toxin. More often than not we found no effect.”

Although their results suggest that ocean acidification may not affect the early stages of coral development, the team warn that this does not mean acidification is not a threat to corals.

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