Acid levels are rising in Florida’s waters, causing marine life to change. Florida educators, researchers and federal representatives discussed the potential effects at Mote Marine Laboratory recently.
Ocean Acidification starts with burning fossil fuels, like when we drive our cars. It releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and then that CO2 dissolves into the ocean, changing its chemistry.
University of Miami Marine Biology professor Chris Langdon spoke at Mote’s panel discussion on Ocean Acidification. He says the acid makes corals grow more slowly, causing them to build reefs more slowly too.
"It's building up in the ocean and it backs up into the organisms and that creates some serious problems for them," said Langdon. "It could mean that our reefs will be less healthy-- fewer corals in the future."
He said Florida’s corals are threatened, but there is hope. Langdon said every year, they find some individual coral colonies are doing just fine. Some corals have adapted and solved the ocean acidification problem on their own. But Langdon said he doesn’t know whether they can reproduce quickly enough to keep the reefs healthy.