Shift from coral to macroalgae dominance on a volcanically acidified reef

I. C. Enochs, D. P. Manzello, E. M. Donham, G. Kolodziej, R. Okano, L. Johnston, C. Young, J. Iguel, C. B. Edwards, M. D. Fox, L. Valentino, S. Johnson, D. Benavente, S. J. Clark, R. Carlton, T. Burton, Y. Eynaud, N. N. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Rising anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere is accompanied by an increase in oceanic CO2 and a concomitant decline in seawater pH (ref. 1). This phenomenon, known as ocean acidification (OA), has been experimentally shown to impact the biology and ecology of numerous animals and plants, most notably those that precipitate calcium carbonate skeletons, such as reef-building corals. Volcanically acidified water at Maug, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is equivalent to near-future predictions for what coral reef ecosystems will experience worldwide due to OA. We provide the first chemical and ecological assessment of this unique site and show that acidification-related stress significantly influences the abundance and diversity of coral reef taxa, leading to the often-predicted shift from a coral to an algae-dominated state. This study provides field evidence that acidification can lead to macroalgae dominance on reefs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1088
Number of pages6
JournalNature Climate change
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-23

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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