A link between the formation of the coral skeleton and the acidification of the oceans?

On Earth, the surface area of ​​the oceans is enormous and covers approximately 70% of all available space. As a result, even today, expeditions continue to be carried out in order to learn more about the abyss. Recently, researchers were able to establish a relationship between the rate of formation of coral reefs and the capacity oceans to resist acidification.

Indeed, according to scientific studies, the different species present in these corals would be sensitive to the various variations of the’acidity oceans. Thus, these researchers noted that the rate of formation of coral skeletons differs by species. However, corals run a danger of extinction.

Among the many scientists who participated in this research is Pupa Gilbertprofessor of physics at UW-Madison and lead author of the study. The results of this study were published on 17 January in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Reefs, endangered species

Despite their small presence in the seabed, reefs represent some of the richest ecosystems on the planet, with morea million species associated with them. The latter are grafted onto old wrecks and old debris lying in the oceans.

Indeed, these reefs are known to be differentially sensitive to ocean acidification, a result of the increase levels of dioxide of carbon atmospheric. Nevertheless, these species are highly threatened, but no one knows how to go about protect.

Many agencies continue to issue reports in which they say, “Yes, coral reefs are under threat,” with no idea what to do about it. Finding science-based solutions is a priority, and having a quantitative idea of ​​what exactly is happening with climate change to coral reefs and skeletons is really important. »

Pupa Gilbert

A particularly interesting composition

The corals constituting the reefs are marine animals that produce a solid shell composed of aragonite, a crystalline material known to be insoluble. This material forms when precursors consisting of a more soluble form deposit on the growing skeleton and then crystallize.

The team studied three genera of corals and examined in depth the components of their skeletons in growth. They used a technique developed by Gilbert, called spectromicroscopy PEEM. Eventually, it will detect the different forms of calcium carbonate with the greatest sensitivity to date.


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