• Jessica Colarossi

    Science Writer Twitter Profile

    Photo of Jessica Colarossi. A white woman with long, straight brown hair and wearing a black and green paisley blouse smiles and poses in front of a dark grey background.

    Jessica Colarossi is a science writer for The Brink. She graduated with a BS in journalism from Emerson College in 2016, with focuses on environmental studies and publishing. While a student, she interned at ThinkProgress in Washington, D.C., where she wrote over 30 stories, most of them relating to climate change, coral reefs, and women’s health. Profile

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There are 2 comments on For Coral Reefs, Temperature Is Everything—Is It Too Late to Save Them?

  1. Temperature is not everything, pH matters too. When the ocean absorbs CO2 it becomes carbonic acid, lowering the pH (lower pH means more acidic). The anions are carbonate and hydrogen carbonate. Coral is primarily calcium carbonate. Its stability, ie not dissolving, depends on the pH. The lower the pH, the less stable the coral.

    We have increased atmospheric CO2 by 70% in 120 years of burning fossil fuel, a giant perturbation to the system. IMO there has to be a giant response, both of rising temperature and of ocean acidification. While humans spiked the CO2 rapidly, Earth responds slowly. We have only felt the very start of Earth’s response of CO2 at 425 ppm. IOW, doomed.


    1. Yes, ocean acidification is also a very important piece! And a threat that shouldn’t be overlooked, just like rising ocean temperatures. This story focused on how high temperatures impact “everything,” from coral reproduction to growth to immune responses.

      I found this helpful article that explains how ocean acidification harms corals, too: https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/ocean-acidification for anyone interested in learning more.

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