Green House Gases Threaten Coral Formation

Green House Gases Threaten Coral Formation

A new research has indicated that green house gases threaten the formation and development of coral reefs. The research was conducted at the Great Barrier Reef in eastern Australia. The team that performed the study involved scientists from the United States, Australia and Germany, along with three scientists from Israel, namely Tanya Rivlin and Dr. Kenneth Schneider from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as Dr. Jack Silverman of the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute in Haifa.

It is the first of its kind study on the effects of green house gases on corals. The research was performed in a natural setting. The research strengthened the theory that coral reefs are significantly harmed by the increase in the level of acidity in sea water due to the higher carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which can also result in the vanishing of coral reefs.

Oceans absorb approximately 25% of total annual CO2 emissions due to human activity, resulting in increase in the acidity of ocean water. Dr. Silverman stated that higher acidity decelerates the chemical process responsible for the formation of calcium carbonate in the structure of corals.

The study was performed at three lagoons, located at a coral island on the Great Barrier Reef, supporting distinctive natural conditions. The lagoons are void of sea water during low tide, but between the two lagoons water flow continues though at a comparatively slow rate due to altitude variance.

The team added a small amount of the strong base material sodium hydroxide to the sea water drawn out of the high lagoon daily for one hour for 22 continuous days. To determine the acidic conditions in the sea, the team poured the mixture into the reef between the two lagoons. The outcome revealed that the coral reef formation rate increased by 7% after the base material was added to the water.