Pollution and global warming are no new trends in the fight to protect our coral reefs. But since the beginning of the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide has been released in greater numbers than ever seen before. This has lead to a significant change in the PH levels of the ocean in the past hundred or so years. The Carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels has lead to ocean acidification, or the changing in chemistry of the ocean caused by the increase in carbon dioxide. An estimated 30-40% of the carbon dioxide from human activities is absorbed by our waterways.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEqCqZId39M&w=560&h=315] Between warming water temperatures and ocean acidification, coral reefs are suffering. Researchers in a study published by Nature, have shown definitely that ocean acidification in the past hundred or so years was negatively effecting coral reefs. They essentially ‘turned back the clocks’ changing the chemistry to pre-industrial revolution conditions. To do this, the researchers created a natural laboratory of coral reef that was separated from the rest of the reef in the Great Barrier Reef. They then pumped in alkaline solution over 15 days, making the reef less acidic. The less acidic portion of the reef grew more corals. Sadly, pumping alkaline solution into our coral reefs is not a realistic solution to the problem. “The only real, lasting way to protect coral reefs is to make deep cuts in our carbon dioxide emissions”, researcher Ken Caldeira said. “If we don’t take action on this issue very rapidly, coral reefs-and everything that depends on them including both wildlife and local communities-will not survive into the next century.” MORE