Michelle desperately needed help with her Marine project and decided to ask for advice from a friend....
Hey Alex! I am currently creating a project about Coral Bleaching, and since you are pretty smart when it comes to Marine Science I thought you could help?
Michelle desperately needed help with her Marine project and decided to ask for advice from a friend...
Sure Michelle! Just ask me whatever you need help with and I will do my best to help you out.
Why is the pH level of the ocean water so important?
Basically, when CO2 dissolves in seawater, the water becomes more acidic which causes the ocean's pH to drop, which can severely impact the coral reefs.
How is the ocean becoming more acidic?
Ocean acidification is the result of excessive CO2 emissions, caused mainly by human activity. The main contributor to excessive CO2 emissions is burning of fossil fuels, and oceans are becoming more acidic because too much CO2 dissolves into the oceans. Acidification also reduces the ability of reef-building corals to produce skeletons.
Traveling back home
Could you tell me a little bit about the symbiotic relationship between zooxanthellae and the coral?
It's quite simple, The coral polyps do cellular respiration, thus producing carbon dioxide and water as byproducts. The zooxanthellae then take up these byproducts to carry out photosynthesis.
I have one last question. How can all these factors contribute to a decrease in coral population?
Thank you so much for all the information Alex!
No problem Michelle! See you sometime!
Warming ocean temperatures cause coral bleaching by disrupting the relationship between coral and zooxanthellae algae. Coral bleaching decreases coral growth, decreases levels of light, ultraviolet radiation, reduces fecundity and eventually kill the corals.