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Ocean acidification is causing coral reefs to dissolve

As climate change causes the ocean to acidify, the world’s coral reefs are in threat, Scientific American and E&E News report. Scientists already knew that ocean acidification was preventing coral from producing the material that forms the building blocks of reefs. Now, a new study has shown that the same process is also causing the reefs themselves to dissolve. Researchers monitored several reefs around the world, and found that the rate at which their sediment dissolved was highly sensitive to the acidity of the water. One of the sites was already dissolving faster than it could be rebuilt. Writing in Science, the researchers predict that with increasing levels of acidification, most coral reefs will be gradually dissolving away by the end of the century.

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