Crucial reef species may survive ocean changes under climate change

phys.org | 5/28/2019 | Staff
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A seaweed species crucial to the survival of coral reefs may be able to gain resistance to ocean changes caused by climate change, new Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington research recently published in Nature Climate Change shows.

The research, led by Dr. Christopher Cornwall from the University's School of Biological Sciences, showed that coralline algae can build tolerance to ocean acidification, one of the major side-effects of climate change over multiple generations.

Coralline - Algae - Process - Calcification - Calcium

"Coralline algae go through a natural process of calcification, where they build a calcium carbonate skeleton," Dr. Cornwall says. "Skeletons like this provide structure, allow them to grow, and protect these organisms. Our research has shown that growth of these skeletons is susceptible to climate change, at least initially."

Coralline algae are vital to the survival of coral reefs and to many ocean species.

Coralline - Algae - Reefs - Reefs - Today

"Coralline algae bind coral reefs together—without it, coral reefs as we know them today wouldn't exist," Dr. Cornwall says. "It also limits erosion in reefs that involve a lot of rocks. These species also act as a nursery for many marine species, including native New Zealand pāua and kina, and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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