A journal of science, thought, and action.

Published on Friday, January 3, 2014

Hopeful in Palau

Riled Up has previously covered an innovative marine program on the island nation of Palau where they were quantifying the value of sharks to their marine environment and national economy: Palau Shows Externalities Matter . The Pacific archipelago may now be showing a hopeful future for coral reefs in ways quite unexpected...if it can be replicated.

According to New Scientist, some of Palau's corals are surviving ocean acidity that would kill other reefs. The new research is being conducted by Anne Cohen, a researcher at a laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who has been monitored changing ocean conditions on organisms in the real world. Her lab discovered the strange reefs on Palau.

Ocean acidification is often dubbed the "evil twin" of climate change as CO2 dissolved in water produces carbonic acid that changes ocean chemistry. Corals use calcium carbonate to build their hard skeletons and any increased acidification reduces the carbonate available to them. This leaves corals unable to grow and survive. The Woods Hole researchers discovered unusual reefs on Palau in higher acidic waters that were healthy, diverse, and increasing their coverage.

A short video describes their work:

At a time when most marine biology stories are discouraging, this new discovery is good news indeed if it can be documented and replicated elsewhere.

There is reason to be Hopeful in Palau!

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