Ocean Acidification and Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Simple Concept with Complex Findings
Ocean acidification refers to the relatively rapid change in seawater pH as the oceans absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Paleoclimate records indicate that the oceans have not experienced a similarly rapid change in pH for millions of years. While we can confidently predict future changes in ocean chemistry, predicting the effects of these changes on corals, coral communities, and coral reefs is proving to be more complex than we anticipated. This presentation will address the continuum of what we know about the effects of ocean acidification on coral and and coral reef ecosystems. Despite our inability to provide clear predictions of how coral reef ecosystems will respond to ocean acidification, various thresholds for corals and reefs are addressed within the context of various 21st century climate change scenarios.