A new study shows the coastal protection coral reefs currently provide will start eroding by the end of the century, as the world continues to warm and the oceans acidify.
A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Sophie Dove from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at The University of Queensland (Coral CoE at UQ) investigated the ability of coral reef ecosystems to retain deposits of calcium carbonate under current projections of warming and ocean acidification.
Calcium carbonate is what skeletons are made of — and it dissolves under hot, acidic conditions. Marine animals that need calcium carbonate for their skeletons or shells are called ‘calcifiers’. Hard corals have skeletons, which is what gives reefs much of their three-dimensional (3D) structure. It’s this structure that helps protect coasts — and those living on the coasts — from the brunt of waves, floods and storms. Without coral