Resolving the interactions of ocean acidification and temperature on coral calcification media pH

Nicola Allison, Catherine Cole, Chris Hintz, Ken Hintz, James Rae, Adrian Finch

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Ocean acidification typically reduces the calcification rates of massive Porites spp. corals but increasing seawater temperatures (below the stress and bleaching threshold) can offset this effect. Here we use δ11B to reconstruct the pH of the calcification media (pHECM) used to precipitate the skeleton in poritid corals cultured over a range of seawater pCO2 and at 25°C and 28°C. Increasing temperature had no significant effect on pHECM at high pCO2 although corals increased their calcification rates. pHECM was reduced at 28°C compared to 25°C at low seawater pCO2, although calcification rates remained constant. Increasing calcification rates could reflect the positive influence of temperature on aragonite precipitation rate, an increase in calcification media saturation state or a change in the concentration/behaviour of the skeletal organic matrix. The 2 temperatures utilized in this study were within the seasonal range at the coral collection site and do not represent a heat stress scenario. Increasing seawater temperatures may promote calcification in some corals in the future but are unlikely to benefit the majority of corals, which are already living close to their maximum thermal tolerance limits.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalCoral Reefs
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date18 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Aug 2021


  • Dissolved inorganic carbon
  • Coral
  • Calcification
  • δ11B
  • Calcification media
  • Ocean acidification


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