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Preindustrial to modern interdecadal variability in coral reef pH


Diver with coral core.  Photo credit: Stewart Fallon and John Marshall. Preindustrial to modern interdecadal variability in coral reef pH
Science Volume 309, No. 5744, pp. 2204-2207, 30 September 2005

Carles Pelejero1*, Eva Calvo1*, Malcolm T. McCulloch1, John F. Marshall1, Michael K. Gagan1, Janice M. Lough2, Bradley N. Opdyke3

1 Research School of Earth Sciences
The Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

* Present address: Institut de Ciències del Mar
CMIMA-CSIC, 08003 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

2 Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB #3, Townsville Mail Centre, QLD 4810, Australia.

3 Department of Earth and Marine Sciences
The Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
ABSTRACT:
The oceans are becoming more acidic due to absorption of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems is unclear, but it will likely depend on species adaptability and the rate of change of seawater pH relative to its natural variability. To constrain the natural variability in reef-water pH, we measured boron isotopic compositions in a ~300-year-old massive Porites coral from the southwestern Pacific. Large variations in pH are found over ~50-year cycles that covary with the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation of ocean-atmosphere anomalies, suggesting that natural pH cycles can modulate the impact of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems.
Download data from the WDC Paleo archive:
Flinders Reef Coral Boron Isotope Data and pH Reconstruction
To read or view the full study, please visit the Science website.
It was published in Science, Volume 309, Number 5744, pp. 2204-2207, 30 September 2005
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