Palau’s coral reefs surprisingly resistant to ocean acidification
Marine scientists working on the coral reefs of Palau have made two unexpected discoveries that could provide insight into corals' resistance and resilience to ocean acidification. The team collected water samples at nine points along a transect that stretched from the open ocean, across a barrier reef, into a lagoon, and into the bays and inlets around the Rock Islands of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean. With each location they found that the seawater became increasingly more acidic as they moved toward land. "When we first plotted those data, we were shocked," said chemical oceanographer Kathryn Shamberger of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "We had no idea the level of acidification we would find. We're looking at reefs today that have levels that we expect for the open ocean in that region by the end of the century."
Image credit: Palau International Coral Reef Center