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Coral Reef Calcification

science project!

Leah Pelegrin

on 21 April 2010

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Transcript of Coral Reef Calcification

Double click anywhere & add an idea Will Coral Reef Calfication be Slowed or Prevented? 2HCO3 + Ca2 = CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O (Calcium Carbonate + Carbon Dioxide + Water) 4HCO3 + Ca2 = 2CaCO3 + 2CO2 + 2H2O Coral Reefs consist of calcium carbonate. Calcification is the process by which calcium carbonate is produced. In other words, calcification is the creation of coral. This is dependent on the ocean temperatures and the rate of saturation of calcium carbonate in oceans. Currently, rates are expected to decrease because of the increase in CO2 found in the oceans and atmosphere. Unfortunately, this means loss of reefs that could potentially be catostrophic because the rate of loss would dive below the rate of natural destruction. In other words, CO2 is bad. Calcification is controlled by the amount of CO2 present. The more CO2, the less calcification. pH also decreases, which can shift the natural balance of ocean life. When the balance gets shifted like that, it becomes harder for the reefs to continue the process of calcification, because it decreases the concentration of calcium carbonate. However, the increase in ocean tempuratures has been helping calcification rates. The high temperatures makes it easier for the coral to go through the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is how plants get food. With more food, the coral reefs have an increase in metabolism. With the metabolism they have more energy and with more energy they are able to calcify much faster. Basically, people were worried that the increase in CO2 levels was enough to stop calfication and destroy coral reefs. However, research has shown that the increase in CO2 levels (causing the decrease in calcium bicarbonate) is not enough to counter the calcification increase that comes with an increase of ocean water temperatures. (Carbonic Acid + Calcium) But that's not to say we shouldn't be worried. It's always better to be on the safe side, so by watching the amount of polutants we release into the air, we can be sure that our coral reefs continue to grow and be normal.
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