According to new research, the fate of coral reefs worldwide remains grim should global warming continue at its current rate. In greenhouse gases, unless a significant reduction is achieved, coral reefs will stop growing in the next decade or so, according to a new study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests.

At the Victoria University of Wellington in Australia, a team of researchers led by Christopher Cornwall, a marine botanist, analyzed data from 183 reefs worldwide to find out the effects of ocean warming and acidification posing increasing threats to underwater ecosystems. According to the scientist, the calcifying coral reef taxa that construct the reef’s calcium carbonate framework and cement it together are “highly sensitive” to ocean warming and acidification—both the calcification and the abundance rates. Calcification rates are also reduced by ocean acidification, mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

According to the scientist, 94% of all reefs could erode by 2050. According to the researcher, decline projects are so severe under other scenarios that reef production will cease by 2100. In the production decline, geographical location also played a role, with reefs in the Pacific Ocean faring better than more degraded coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean. Due to bleaching events, the population declines are there. When the water is too warm, the process happens, and the corals’ algae expel from their tissues cause them to turn completely white.

The scientist said to gain tolerance to marine heatwaves, the capacity for reef-building taxa, and ongoing ocean acidification and warming over the coming decades is unknown. The vast array of biodiversity that resides in coral reefs ecosystems will negatively affect if coral reefs stop growing. According to the researchers, billions of dollars of revenue are generated by the reefs for tourism and fisheries around the world and protect tropical shorelines from hazards. If the sea level continues to rise, then due to climate change, reefs will no longer effectively protect coastlines.

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