Research press release



Marine science: Coral reefs on acid



今回、Rebecca Albrightたちの研究グループは、グレートバリアリーフ南部にある400平方メートルの天然のサンゴ礁群集をアラゴナイトの飽和度の低い状態にさらして、全球的な二酸化炭素排出量が大幅削減されない場合に21世紀後半に起こると予想される石灰化レベルのシミュレーションを行った。Albrightたちは、研究室での実験ではなく、自然環境において二酸化炭素濃度を上昇させたことで、酸性化に対するサンゴ礁群集全体の自然の気温、光、栄養素の条件下での石灰化応答を監視できた。その結果、生態系を著しく損なう可能性のある酸性化したサンゴ礁群衆において、純石灰化量が34%減少することが見いだされた。

Artificially increasing the acidity of seawater flowing over a natural coral reef community in the Great Barrier Reef reduces coral calcification by about one-third, reports a paper published in Nature this week. Ocean acidification poses a significant threat to tropical coral reef ecosystems by reducing the saturation state of the aragonite mineral of which coral skeletons are primarily composed, and by lowering the concentration of carbonate ions required to build the reef. The findings suggest that near-future reductions in the aragonite saturation state of the ocean will compromise coral-reef function.

Coral reefs feed millions of people worldwide, provide coastal protection, and generate billions of US dollars annually in tourism revenue. Past research on the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs has focused on the reactions of individual species instead of evaluating more complex, community-level responses. The ability to predict changes in ecosystem function and associated services ultimately hinges on our understanding of community- and ecosystem-scale responses to environmental changes.

Rebecca Albright and colleagues exposed a 400-m2 area of natural coral reef community in the southern Great Barrier Reef to decreased aragonite saturation states, simulating the levels that are expected to occur later this century if deep cuts to global CO2 emissions are not made. In contrast to laboratory settings, CO2 enrichment in the natural environment allowed the authors to monitor the calcification response of an entire coral reef community to acidification under natural temperature, light, and nutrient conditions. The authors observed that net community calcification was reduced by 34% in the acidified reef, which has the potential to significantly compromise the ecosystem.

doi: 10.1038/nature25968|英語の原文

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