Woods Hole Scientists Study Weakened Coral Skeletons

WOODS HOLE – Corals throughout the world are finding it more difficult to build their skeletons due to the rising acidity in the ocean.

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have led new research showing that the acidity retards the skeleton’s thickening process, making them much more susceptible to breakage. The currents, waves, storms, as well as boring and biting by worms, molluscs and parrotfish, become much harder to withstand.

Bleaching caused by rising ocean temperatures is also killing large coral forests.

Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.

Many are now in danger, mostly due to climate change.

There is one potentially positive sign. Some laboratory experiments and field studies have shown that some skeletons are almost unaffected by rising levels of acidity, allowing for some hope in further research.

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