Journal Highlights

Polluted groundwater eroding Hawaiian coral reefs, study shows


Local land-based pollution makes coral reefs more vulnerable to ocean acidification and could trigger coastal coral reef ecosystem collapses sooner than projected, according to new research.

Coral reefs are threatened globally by ocean acidification caused by rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide influx heightens the ocean’s acidity, creating an environment that stunts coral growth. 

The new study, accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds local land-based pollution can make coral reefs even more vulnerable to ocean acidification by magnifying its effects.

The new study finds pollution from a wastewater treatment facility in west Maui, Hawaii, has drastically weakened local coral reefs for more than 10 years. By increasing local seawater acidity and nutrient levels, the polluted water has instigated harmful bioerosion and inhibited coral reef growth…More