Understanding the threats of ocean acidification to coral reefs.
The Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research program affords a unique opportunity to study the implications of ocean acidification (OA) for coral reefs, as ongoing ecological and physical monitoring there provides a context in which the patterns of community change attributed to OA can be detected. We used mesocosms to study the impacts of OA on corals and calcified algae, and conducted experiments to compare multiple species and evaluate how they are affected by changing concentrations of the different forms of dissolved inorganic carbon. Our results reveal taxonomic variation in the response to OA, with some corals and algae showing signs of resistance to OA conditions. This discovery is informing an urgent debate over the form in which coral reefs will survive (if at all) in the future.