How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic

Coral Bleaching Follows Rapid Warming
Jones, R.J. 1997. Changes in zooxanthellar densities and chlorophyll concentrations in corals during and after a bleaching event. Marine Ecology Progress Series 158: 51-59.

What was done
The author of this paper studied a coral bleaching event in the Great Barrier Reef that followed a rapid increase in sea water temperature.

What was learned
Average daily sea water temperatures measured approximately one month prior to the bleaching event were around 28C. Sea water temperatures increased over the next week and leveled off at 29.5C for the week following, after which they again rose by an additional 2.5C over an eight-day period, following which bleached corals were observed.

What it means
This study demonstrates the link between rapid warming and coral bleaching.

Reviewed 1 April 1999