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Scientists Push For New Strategy To Study Effects Of Climate Change On Coral Reefs

A new study conducted by a team of international researchers claims that we must rethink our research strategy in order to better understand the effects of multiple climate change stressors on the future of our coral reefs. The team came to the conclusion after conducting a literature review of recent research on the ecological health impacts of corals in the face of multiple stressors such as rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification.

In addition to causing bleaching and destroying calcium shells, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to changes in ocean temperature and acidification that can slow coral growth and prevent reproduction. Even worse, when these two climate stressors occur simultaneously, they have additional detrimental effects that cannot be predicted by our current climate change models that only take single stressors into consideration.

"The evidence is stacking up that the interaction of multiple stressors and ecological complexity may mean that negative effects on coral reefs will happen sooner, and be more severe than previously thought," said Chris Langdon, co-author of the study. "In order to answer the challenge to produce more accurate predictions, coral reef scientists will need to scale-up their studies to better encompass the complexity of natural systems."

Richard Ricciardi

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