Acidification 'likely to impact reef'

AUSTRALIA'S oceans are getting warmer and more acidic, putting the future growth of coral in the Great Barrier Reef at risk, the CSIRO's latest report on the effects of climate change on the marine environment revealed on Friday.

In its first report on the state of Australia's oceans in three years, the CSIRO revealed the trend of rising sea levels, temperatures and ocean acidification had continued since the last study in 2009.

The report said ocean acidification was already impacting biological systems, with corals on the Great Barrier Reef likely to experience slower growth (reduced calcification rates).

"Evidence is accumulating to suggest ocean acidification may directly or indirectly affect many marine organisms and ecosystems, some of which may also hold significant social and economic value to the Australian community," it reads.

The report also found fish and marine animals living in tropical waters were likely to eventually move south as ocean water temperatures increased, while some tropical species showed an ability to acclimatise to the rising temperatures.

Using research finding from more than 80 marine scientists at 34 Australian universities, the report also found "the Australian science community is widely engaged in research, monitoring and observing programs" to understand climate change.


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