How does ocean acidification affect the internal carbonate chemistry of corals?

The specific mechanisms of how ocean acidification (OA) inhibits coral calcification are still poorly understood, which, in part, is due to the difficulty of accessing the site of calcification. I use coral skeletal boron isotopes and B/Ca ratios to overcome this issue and reconstruct the pH and DIC concentration at the site of calcification. This also has important implications for the boron isotope seawater pH proxy in corals.

I currently collaborate with Drs Rob Toonen and Chris Jury from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology as well as my former PhD supervisor Dr Andréa Grottoli to assess the impact of environmental conditions (i.e., temperature, pH, flow) on the internal carbonate chemistry of Hawaiian corals. Furthermore, I will investigate whether corals adapted to naturally lower seawater pH have specific geochemical mechanisms that make them more resistant to ocean acidification.

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