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Modelling coral calcification accounting for the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean acidification


Evenhuis, C and Lenton, AA and Cantin, NE and Lough, JM, Modelling coral calcification accounting for the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean acidification, Biogeosciences, 12, (9) pp. 2607-2630. ISSN 1726-4170 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.5194/bg-12-2607-2015


Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems that are threatened by rising CO2 levels through increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification. Here we present a new unified model that links changes in temperature and carbonate chemistry to coral health. Changes in coral health and population are explicitly modelled by linking rates of growth, recovery and calcification to rates of bleaching and temperature-stress-induced mortality. The model is underpinned by four key principles: the Arrhenius equation, thermal specialisation, correlated up- and down-regulation of traits that are consistent with resource allocation trade-offs, and adaption to local environments. These general relationships allow this model to be constructed from a range of experimental and observational data. The performance of the model is assessed against independent data to demonstrate how it can capture the observed response of corals to stress. We also provide new insights into the factors that determine calcification rates and provide a framework based on well-known biological principles to help understand the observed global distribution of calcification rates. Our results suggest that, despite the implicit complexity of the coral reef environment, a simple model based on temperature, carbonate chemistry and different species can give insights into how corals respond to changes in temperature and ocean acidification.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:coral calcification, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, modelling, coral reefs, CO2
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Lenton, AA (Dr Andrew Lenton)
ID Code:118487
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Directorate
Deposited On:2017-07-12
Last Modified:2017-10-16
Downloads:128 View Download Statistics

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