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Coral reefs ‘ruled by earthquakes and volcanoes’

Coral reefs ‘ruled by earthquakes and volcanoes’

Media issued by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies          

A world-first study from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) has found that titanic forces in the Earth’s crust explains why the abundance and richness of coral varies dramatically across the vast expanse of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Scientists from CoECRS reveal that abrupt changes in the mix of coral species are associated with earthquakes, volcanoes and jostling among the earth’s giant tectonic plates.

The study shows that slow geological processes generate the patterns of reef biodiversity that we see today. This also explains why some coral species are more widespread than others.

It is understood that rich coral communities arise from geological processes that take place over millions of years and they will be even harder to replace if lost due to global warming.

 

Image Credit: Francesco Ungaro Pexels

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