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Home arrow Geography arrow Climate Change Adaptation in Pacific Countries: Fostering Resilience and Improving the Quality of Life

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Conclusions

The shells of larger foraminifers on the reef flats of coral islands in the Indo-Pacific can make up as much as 90% of the sand-sized sediments (e.g., Hallock 1981; Fujita et al. 2016). While uncertainties remain regarding the range of environmental factors that influence calcification in M. vertebralis, our observations that growth and calcification in M. vertebralis decreases as a function of decreasing [CO32 ] in seawater indicate that increasing pCO2 in this century could reduce carbonate production by important larger foraminifers such as M. vertebralis at least by half. While this estimate is conservative compared to those of Uthicke et al. (2013), who predicted extinction of many taxa, or Knorr et al. (2015), who estimated an 85% reduction in carbonate production by some major taxa, loss of even 50% of the carbonate sand production by larger benthic foraminifers could be devastating for low lying coral islands surrounded by reef flats. Reductions in the major source of sand- sized sediments at the same time that sea level is rising clearly compounds the threats associated with climate change for human residents of low-lying islands.

Future Research Topics

  • • Future studies may seek to culture other important species of foraminifera around Fiji and compare their response to increasing ocean acidity.
  • • Modeling and documentation of carbonate production differences in Foraminifera in a historical context, along with present and future projections will be vital to determine coastal protection and conservation strategies.
 
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