Re-evaluating Calcification Response to Changes in Seawater Chemistry

Principal Investigator

Projected changes in our ocean environment (i.e., ocean warming and acidification) indicate significant consequences for individual marine organisms, communities, ecosystems, food webs, and dependent human populations. Yet, the effects on biological systems, including the timing, scale, and magnitude of the impacts are poorly understood. If we want to understand the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on coral reefs and calcification, we need to know how seawater chemistry affects calcification.

The objectives of this research are to 1) examine the coral responses to differing carbonate chemistry conditions intended to isolate whether carbonate ions or hydrogen ions have a more substantial influence on calcification rates and 2) characterize the proton gradient across the corals’ boundary layers under differing carbonate chemistry conditions. The results of this work will provide an evaluation of the Proton Flux Hypothesis and Coral Metabolism Model.