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A better understanding of coral skeleton growth suggests ways to restore reefs

Date posted
Funding Agency
(Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

Physicists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have observed reef-forming corals at the nanoscale and identified how they create their skeletons. The researchers used a spectromicroscopy technique to probe the growing skeletons, and results showed amorphous nanoparticles present in the coral tissue, at the growing surface, and in the region between the tissue and the skeleton. The results provide an explanation for how corals are resistant to acidifying oceans caused by rising carbon dioxide levels and suggest that controlling water temperature, not acidity, is crucial to mitigating loss and restoring reefs.