Corals, like clams, lobster, and sea urchins, are marine calcifiers—they incorporate dissolved minerals from seawater to grow their hard parts. Calcifiers are considered at risk from our increased introduction of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide in the air increases the temperature of the ocean by ramping up the greenhouse effect, and the absorption of carbon dioxide into the ocean changes its chemistry so that minerals are less available for growth. This Bio Bulletin features a new study from biologists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, which saw that the growth of Porites coral in Australia's Great Barrier Reef is slowing and is likely a result of climate change.
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