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Stony corals more resilient to ocean acidification than thought

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June 1 2017  ScienceDaily  full story here

Stony corals may be more resilient to ocean acidification than once thought, according to a Rutgers University study that shows they rely on proteins to help create their rock-hard skeletons. ….”The bottom line is that corals will make rock even under adverse conditions…They will probably make rock even as the ocean becomes slightly acidic from the burning of fossil fuels.”

“What we’re showing is that the decades-old general model for how corals make rock is wrong,” Falkowski said. “This very careful study very precisely shows that corals will secrete proteins, and the proteins are what really forms the mineral and the proteins are very acidic, which will surprise a lot of people.”… But corals face several environmental threats over the long-run: potentially deadly bleaching from global warming and rapid temperature changes; nutrient pollution; the physical destruction of coral reefs; and ocean acidification linked to carbon dioxide emissions, Falkowski said.

Stylophora pistillata is a colorful and well-studied stony coral common in the Indo-Pacific. Credit: Kevin Wyman/Rutgers University

Stanislas Von Euw et al. Biological control of aragonite formation in stony corals. Science, 2017 DOI: 10.1126/science.aam6371

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