Rising warming temperatures of the ocean, coupled with human pollution is leading to more acidic water conditions having a negative impact on coral reefs around the globe. A research team from Stanford University are employing an underwater mini-laboratory to study how reefs respond to ocean acidification.
The mini-lab contains a small section of the reef where scientists can create potential future ocean conditions to see how a small sample of the reef reacts to increased acidity without harming the entire reef. The mini-lab is being used in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and uses a series of sensors to monitor the conditions and maintain pH levels needed for the experiment, allowing the team to study the sample with changing natural and seasonal conditions with the ambient seawater chemistry.
“Installing systems like this at reefs and other aquatic environments could be instrumental in helping us identify how ecosystems will change and which locations and ecosystem types are more likely to remain robust and resilient,” said Lida Teneva, a Stanford University doctoral student who helped with the study. ”From this, we can determine which habitats to focus our conservation efforts on as strongholds for the future.”
As hobbyists, we can understand how difficult it is to recreate natural conditions in a closed environment. Having the larger and natural reef environment as the control group right next to the experimental area will lead scientists to make more insightful conclusions by taking into consideration more natural influences.
[via Earth Techling]