How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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The Maldives: Past, Present and Future
Kench, P.S., McLean, R.F. and Nichol, S.L.  2005.  New model of reef-island evolution: Maldives, Indian Ocean.  Geology 33: 145-148.

The Maldives archipelago in the Indian Ocean is comprised of 22 atolls containing more than 1200 reef islands, which climate alarmists claim will soon be inundated by rising seas, which they claim are produced by global warming, which they claim is a result of ever-increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which is a position to which they have truly "staked their claim."

What was done
Based on "detailed morphostratigraphic analysis and radiometric dating of three islands in South Maalhosmadulu Atoll," in the words of the authors, they say they developed a "model of reef-island formation in the Maldives that has significant implications for the physical stability of islands with anticipated sea-level rise."

What was learned
Kench et al. report that the islands, which are primarily relict reef deposits, "initially formed on a foundation of lagoonal sediments between 5500 and 4500 years BP, when the reef surface was as much as 2.5 m below modern sea level."  Subsequently, the islands accumulated rapidly over a period of approximately 1500 years, reaching their current dimensions by about 4000 years BP, after which the outer reef continued to grow upward, confining and protecting the islands.

What it means
Based on what they learned about the formation of the islands, Kench et al. conclude that "forecast changes in water depth and wave energy across reefs are well within the depth and energy conditions in existence during island formation in the Maldives and are likely to promote [only] minor readjustment of the island margins," adding that "extensive lithification of island and beach sediments will continue to stabilize islands."  As a result, they conclude that "contrary to most established commentaries on the precarious nature of atoll islands, our data and model present an optimistic view for the Maldivian islands."  And lest there be any question about the meaning of their words, they specifically state in their concluding sentence that the islands have existed for more than 5000 years, "are morphologically resilient rather than fragile systems, and are expected to persist under current scenarios of future climate change and sea-level rise."

Reviewed 27 April 2005