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New paper out: CCA can contribute more than corals to reef carbonate production

Excited to share the newly minted product of an amazing international collaboration headed with vision and efficiency by Chris Cornwall and Steeve Comeau last year. Thanks for including me in our fun and insightful workshop and discussions!

Understanding the drivers of net coral reef calcium carbonate production is increasingly important as ocean warming, acidification, and other anthropogenic stressors threaten the maintenance of coral reef structures and the services these ecosystems provide. Despite intense research effort on coral reef calcium carbonate production, the inclusion of a key reef forming/accreting calcifying group, the crustose coralline algae, remains challenging both from a theoretical and practical standpoint. While corals are typically the primary reef builders of contemporary reefs, crustose coralline algae can contribute equally. Here, we combine several sets of data with numerical and theoretical modelling to demonstrate that crustose coralline algae carbonate production can match or even exceed the contribution of corals to reef carbonate production. Despite their importance, crustose coralline algae are often inaccurately recorded in benthic surveys or even entirely missing from coral reef carbonate budgets. We outline several recommendations to improve the inclusion of crustose coralline algae into such carbonate budgets under the ongoing climate crisis.

Check out the full paper just out in Communications Earth & Environment:

Cornwall, CE, J Carlot, O Branson, TA Courtney, BP Harvey, C Perry, AJ Andersson, G Diaz-Pulido, M Johnson, E Kennedy, E Krieger, J Maella, SJ McCoy, M Nugues, E Quinter, C Ross, E Ryan, V Saderne, and S Comeau (2023). Increasing importance of crustose coralline algae to coral reef carbonate production under ongoing climate change. Communications Earth & Environment, 4: 105.

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