Sea grass may protect coral reefs

| 25/06/2012

_61086587_seagrass(coralresearch)meadows.jpg(BBC): Research headed by a Swansea University marine biologist has offered potential solution to endangered coral reefs around the world's oceans. Dr Richard Unsworth's team included scientists from Oxford University and James Cook University in Australia. They found varieties of seagrass which may reduce the acidity of water around reefs, protecting them from erosion. Corals are worm-like creatures of around a centimetre length which live in colonies numbering millions. Calcium carbonate released by the corals forms a protective reef around the entire group.

The survival of these corals has been threatened by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the last 40 years, as it has raised the acidity of the oceans, rotting the reefs in the same way as fruit and fizzy drinks can erode tooth enamel.

But now Dr Unsworth believes he has found varieties of seagrass which can photosynthesise carbon dioxide so quickly and efficiently that they actually turn the surrounding water more alkaline.

"Highly productive tropical seagrasses often live adjacent to or among coral reefs and photosynthesise at such rates you can see the oxygen they produce practically bubbling away," he said.

"We wanted to understand whether this could be a major local influence on seawater and the problems of ocean acidification."

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  1. Sir Henry Morgan says:

    "They found varieties of seagrass which may reduce the acidity of water around reefs, protecting them from erosion.'

    Nonsense!!! I say we dig it all up and make way for the megga yatchs!!!