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New research finds deep sea corals could face ‘osteoporosis of the sea’

September 17, 2020

NOAA and its international partners funded and conducted a new study of the most acidified reefs to date, finding deep sea corals face the same challenges their shallower water relatives are dealing with in reefs around the world. Submersibles were used to record video off the ocean in Southern California, where scientists measured the most acidified water ever recorded on living reefs. 

 

Deep-sea scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa with a bubblegum octocoral (in red, Paragorgia sp.) at 300 meters depth on Piggy Bank in Southern California’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

While scientists were already aware that some areas of the global ocean are acidifying due to the absorption of increased fossil fuel emissions, this new study unlocked more information about the porosity of corals, leading to the weakening of the structures at critical locations. 

This news adds to the body of knowledge scientists and managers now have so that they can better plan how to protect such systems in the future. 

For more information, visit the news releaseoffsite link from our partners at the University of Edinburgh and read the study in Frontiers in Marine Scienceoffsite link.