Acidification may halve coral class of 2050

Experiments suggest big drop in egg fertilization and larval settlement

By Susan Milius, 13:14 PM November 9, 2010

By midcentury, growing acidification of the world’s oceans may undermine sexual reproduction in elkhorn coral badly enough to halve the supply of youngsters settling down to build reef.

Acidification, which happens as increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolve in the ocean and form acid, is expected to threaten established coral reefs worldwide in coming decades. In tests with seawater modified to reflect conditions expected later this century, sperm of the coral Acropora palm...

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