Coral reef growth has decreased as much as 70 percent in some places, according to a study conducted by The University of Queensland, Australia, QU.
It’s not so much in industries that people willl notice the lack of reef growth, but “reefs serve as barriers,” said Dr. Daphne Fautin, a program officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a professor of invertebrate zoology at the University of Kansas. “The places least damaged by the Southeast Asian tsunami were the places with the best developed coral reefs.”
According to QU, corals accumulate and produce calcium carbonate, set against the loss of carbonate through erosional processes. There are many causes of reef decay, Fautin said. One of the sources comes from increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Increased carbon dioxide in the air means more CO2 in the water, said Fautin. Carbon dioxide in water makes carbonic acid and lowers the pH, which can lead to chronic stress in the corals. “Coral reefs do well in chronic stress if well established.”