The oceans today are 30 percent more acidic than they were at the time of the Industrial Revolution. This interferes with the way that corals produce calcium carbonate, and it becomes difficult to build reefs. Oil spills are a major issue, and in recent accidents; ships hit coral reefs off India and spilt oil, causing reef damage. Surface currents are more rapid than the currents of the deep sea, limiting the ability of the deeper plumes (oil) to spread widely; oil and chemicals will diffuse as they migrate away from the site of the blowout/spill. The large natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, as high as one million barrels per year, propose that corals in the deep ocean may have adapted to low-level concentrations of oil. Fiji is the world's second largest exporter of live reef products for the aquarium trade after Indonesia. The illegal trade in living coral is leading to unscrupulous collecting methods, which severely damage reefs. This has become a serious problem in Fiji. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/us/02coral.html
Elkhorn coral is now an endangered species, which used to be seen clearly in shallow water. In the past 30 years, many elkhorn coral have declined; due to disease outbreaks, hurricanes and elevated temperatures. Scientists are constructing methods to save the coral; it will be quite a journey. A new study shows that coral may face another infliction. In increased acidic waters, elkhorn coral are less successful at reproducing sexually. Water is neutral and the oceans are slightly more basic, becoming more acidic.
The corals of the Persian/Arabian Gulf are adapted to temperature fluctuations better than anywhere in the Indo-Pacific. The Gulf displays the highest summer water temperature and is an extreme marine environment for any reef area. The shallow, small sea can be considered a good analogue to future conditions for the...