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New Study Makes Clear: Saving Reefs Means Slashing Emissions


New Study Makes Clear: Saving Reefs Means Slashing Emissions

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Climate change is the primary cause of coral reef degradation around the world, according to a groundbreaking new study that casts doubt on the previous scientific understanding of reef erosion.

The research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, finds that even isolated coral reefs, far away from localized human degradation like fishing and pollution—long assumed to be the primary causes of reef destruction—are no better off than those near coastal areas with human populations.


Reefs will not necessarily always be around, They have already started to disappear.


Abstract• References• Author information• Supplementary information
Changes in CaCO3 dissolution due to ocean acidification are potentially more important than changes in calcification to the future accretion and survival of coral reef ecosystems. As most CaCO3 in coral reefs is stored in old permeable sediments, increasing sediment dissolution due to ocean acidification will result in reef loss even if calcification remains unchanged. Previous studies indicate that CaCO3 dissolution could be more sensitive to ocean acidification than calcification by reef organisms. Observed changes in net ecosystem calcification owing to ocean acidification could therefore be due mainly to increased dissolution rather than decreased calcification. In addition, biologically mediated calcification could potentially adapt, at least partially, to future ocean acidification, while dissolution, which is mostly a geochemical response to changes in seawater chemistry, will not adapt. Here, we review the current knowledge of shallow-water CaCO3 dissolution and demonstrate that dissolution in the context of ocean acidification has been largely overlooked compared with calcification.



"For two years, the researchers collected water samples along the 200-kilometer (124-mile) stretch of the Florida Reef Tract north of Biscayne National Park to the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. The data provide a snapshot on the health of the reefs and establish a baseline from which future changes can be judged.

The results showed reef dissolution is a significant problem on reefs in the upper Keys with the loss of limestone exceeding the amount the corals are able to produce on an annual basis. As a result, these reefs are expected to begin wasting away, leaving less habitat for commercially- and recreationally-important fish species. Florida Keys’ reefs have an estimated asset value of $7.6 billion. The study was accepted for publication today in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, a journal of the American Geophysical Union."


I dove in the Caribbean in the late 70's/early 80's when the coral cover was about 50%-60%. Today it is now around 15%, with a marked decrease in species variety and density of all types.
It's not just reefs at issue, it is the degradation of the marine environment in total and it has been on-going for decades. You have no idea what you're talking about.