News

SCU project looks at how fast climate change killing reefs

DYING: Climate change is making our oceans more acidic, which is in turn dissolving the sediments that make up coral reefs. Now a Southern Cross University study will look at how fast this is happening.
DYING: Climate change is making our oceans more acidic, which is in turn dissolving the sediments that make up coral reefs. Now a Southern Cross University study will look at how fast this is happening. AAP AND LEE CONSTABLE

THEY call it climate change's "evil twin".

About a third of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere gets absorbed by the ocean, creating a nasty process called ocean acidification.

Sucking up all that greenhouse gas actually helps offset global warming, but the ocean pays a price.

Ocean acidification is stunting the growth of coral reefs among other things - just how badly we don't know yet, which is what the director of Southern Cross University's Dr Bradley Eyre wants to find out with a pioneering global study, looking at sites on the Barrier Reef, Hawaii, and Bermuda.

The research has been given funding worth about $350,000 from the Australian Research Council, one of a swag of grants recently won by SCU worth over $1.7 million and announced by Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne this week.

The director of SCU’s Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research, Dr Bradley Eyre, is thrilled with the recent funding awards the department has received.
The director of SCU’s Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research, Dr Bradley Eyre, is thrilled with the recent funding awards the department has received. Marc Stapelberg

Dr Eyre, director at SCU's Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research, said the aim was to establish how fast the sediments which actually form 95% of coral reefs were dissolving.

"There hasn't been much work done on what the effects of ocean acidification are going to have on that framework on how it's going to dissolve," Dr Eyre said.

The worry is that the dissolution of the sediments combined with the stunting of live reef could see a "double whammy" effect.

"If we get an increase in dissolution and a decrease in calcification, they might literally dissolve into the ocean and there would be nothing left," Dr Eyre said.

An academic review, proving the knowledge-gap in this area lead-authored by Dr Eyre, has already broken new ground, becoming the first ever SCU-led review to grace the pages of the esteemed Nature group of publications.

Another researcher to win ARC funding was Dr Damien Maher, in the form of a $360,000 Early Career Research Award to study the carbon impacts of natural wetlands being converted into cropfields.

Other projects

OTHER projects to score funding included an investigation of carbon burial in mangroves and understanding the use of digital technology in health and physical education programs in schools.

In total, the University received two Early Career Research Awards, three Discovery Project grants and an ARC Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme grant.

Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said the result was outstanding, with SCU boasting the highest success rate for Early Career Award applications and the second-best for Discovery Projects.

Topics:  climate change



Shark nets: Why you really need to read the fine print

A sign at Lighthouse Beach advising visitors of the shark net trial.

Is it safe to get back into the water?

Lismore's composting gets the green thumbs up

Northern Rivers Waste team members (l-r) Danielle Hanigan, Paddy Byrne, Kevin Trustum and Charlie Crethar launching the Biocycle Compost Facility expansion earlier this year.

Lismore can now add another sustainable accolade to it's reputation

VIDEO: Meet our shark watchers

Shark spotter, Orion, is excited about his new role with Shark Watchers.

Meet Orion Sturch, the 14-year-old who will be droning the sea to save your...

Local Partners

EXCLUSIVE: Meet Robert Irwin, wildlife photographer

SNAPPER: Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion.

Steve's boy has a passion for photography

Louis Tomlinson's tribute to late mother

Louis Tomlinson's new single is a tribute to his late mother.

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

WATCH QTV: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!