Author: Sarah Fecht
December 6, 2012
"When marine biologist David Kline, of Australia’s University of Queensland, set out for Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, he and his team were determined to help answer a pressing question: How will rising acidity from climate change affect coral reefs? So they brought along their Coral Proto FOCE, the first device that lets scientists manipulate acidity in a reef’s natural environment.
The Coral Proto is a three-foot-long plastic box with sliding doors. After embedding it in a reef, researchers select a pH on a computer. A pump then squirts pre-acidified seawater from an onshore tank into the box. The Proto’s acidity sensors track levels to maintain the preferred pH. When it’s time to measure how the reef is faring, the researchers slide down the Proto’s doors to create a sealed chamber. They can then check the water inside for oxygen (a marker of photosynthesis) and alkalinity (a marker of coral growth)."
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