dohboi wrote:ocean acidification could drive a cascading loss of biodiversity in some marine habitats
Except it is not. Here is a beautiful reef in highly acidic water.
Unlike all the other deteriorating coral reefs worldwide, this remote reef is not ruined by human excrement, agricultural runoff and development. Nothing to do with ocean CO2.
And some of the most rewarding. There's coral everywhere. The bottom is carpeted with fan corals, big boulder-shaped corals, long green tendril-y corals, even squishy corals, all jockeying for position.
There are bright, colorful fish too. It's a parade of life.
But here's the thing — Cohen says this raucous coral ecosystem shouldn't even exist. The water is way too acidic.
“We started taking water samples,” she says, casting back to an earlier visit here. “We analyzed them, and we couldn't believe it. Of the 17 coral reef systems (around the world) that we've been monitoring, this is the most acidic site that we've found.”
The higher acidity of the water here is natural, but it defies all expectations. Conventional wisdom is that corals don't like acidic water, and the water in Nikko Bay is acidic enough that it should keep many of these corals from building up their calcium carbonate skeletons.
Even weirder, Cohen says, is that the acidity goes up as you move from the barrier reefs offshore into Palau's island bays, and that as that happens, the coral cover and the coral diversity increase as well.
From everything we know about corals, Cohen says, this just shouldn't happen.“There's something different about Palau.”
In Palau coral reefs thrive in naturally acidic water
"From everything we know about corals, Cohen says, this just shouldn't happen.“There's something different about Palau."