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Humankind’s Biogeochemical Experiment: Ocean Acidification and “Coral Reef” Dissolution
Principal Investigator: Michael Guidry
Ocean acidification (the process by which the surface waters of the ocean are becoming more acidic due to absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide generated, in part, by the burning of fossil fuels) has serious implications in terms of its effects on marine ecosystems, especially for those organisms that generate shells or skeletons out of the calcium carbonate. As a consequence of ocean acidification, the ability and rate at which these organisms can create calcium carbonate shells and skeletons will decrease, the physical strength of their skeletons could weaken (a condition similar to osteoporosis), and the organisms could become less resistant and more vulnerable to environmental stress.
Our research investigates how ocean acidification is impacting the calcium carbonate bearing organisms found in Kāneʻohe Bay and will help determine to impacts of ocean acidification on the overall marine ecosystem of Kāneʻohe Bay and other tropical marine ecosystems.