Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Dissolution of Coral Reef CaCO3 Sediments: Overlooked and Forgotten in Ocean Acidification Research

Event Name/Location

2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 23-28, 2014

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Ocean acidification (OA) is expected to have drastic effects on the future of coral reefs, mainly through the reduced formation of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). However, the dissolution of stored CaCO3 has largely been overlooked in the OA community. CaCO3 sediments represent the largest reservoir of carbonate minerals in coral reefs and result from the accumulation and storage of CaCO3 material over thousands of years. This presentation will demonstrate the in situ drivers of dissolution in coral reef carbonate sands and how they will respond increasing average pCO2 (ocean acidification). Results from in situ benthic incubations at coral reefs around the world demonstrated that benthic metabolism and porewater exchange are important controls on CaCO3 sediment dissolution, and this dissolution is enhanced when the water column pCO2 is raised. The rate at which sediments are predicted to dissolve by the year 2100 has important implications to the biogeochemistry of coral reefs and their future survival. We propose that quantifying the global dissolution kinetics of CaCO3 sediments may be just as important as estimating calcification rates when predicting how OA will impact coral reef ecosystems.



This document is currently not available here.