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Science:珊瑚依然能在酸性海水中生长“骨骼”

摘要 : 气候变化对珊瑚来说是个大问题,这种形成集落的动物为约25%的海洋生物提供了家园。

气候变化对珊瑚来说是个大问题,这种形成集落的动物为约25%的海洋生物提供了家园。由于海洋会吸收大气中的二氧化碳而导致的海洋酸化,这对石珊瑚造成的影响尤其严峻,它使得这些动物更难让由碳酸钙(在针对胃灼热和消化不良的抗酸药中可发现同样的分子)构成的骨骼被沉淀下来。

现在,科学家表示,珊瑚对其骨骼生长在一定程度上具有主动控制能力,从而保护其免受海洋酸化的最严重破坏。为了了解珊瑚如何建造它们的“骨骼”,科学家利用超高分辨率显微成像观察了常见的石珊瑚——萼形柱珊瑚构建其轮廓。

图像表明,珊瑚能够分泌一种形成碳酸钙——由周围水中的钙离子和碳离子形成——的酸性蛋白质模板,从而合生成矿物晶体,形成珊瑚“骨骼”的核心。这对支撑生物学控制的珊瑚骨骼生长提供了最强大的证据。

由于这种酸蛋白质能够比预期在更广泛的范围内发挥作用,科学家表示,因此海洋即便在酸化,珊瑚也能够继续形成珊瑚礁。

但这并不意味着珊瑚礁会不受阻碍地生长。首先,它们仍然需要构成其生物家园的碳酸钙构建模块,而这在酸性较强的海洋中会更少。其次,它们仍处于会导致珊瑚白化和死亡的温暖海水和藻华的巨大威胁之下。

原文链接:

Corals can still grow their ‘bones’ in acid waters

原文摘要:

Climate change is a big problem for corals, the colony-forming animals that provide a home to anestimated 25% of marine life. Ocean acidification in particular, caused as the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, is a grave concern for stony corals, because it makes it harder for the animals to passively precipitate skeletons made of calcium carbonate, the same molecule found in antacids for heartburn and indigestion. Now, scientists have suggested that corals have some active control over their skeletal growth—and that it may protect them from the worst ravages of ocean acidification. To find out how corals build their “bones,” scientists used ultrahigh-resolution microscopic imaging to watch the common stony coral, Stylophora pistillata, construct its frame. The images showed the coral secreting a template of acidic proteins that caused calcium carbonate—produced from calcium and carbonate ions in the surrounding water—to accrete into mineral crystals, forming the core of the skeleton. This provides the strongest evidence yet in favor of a biologically-controlled coral skeletal growth, the team reports today in Science. And since the acidic proteins are able to function at a much wider pH range than suspected, the scientists say that corals can continue to build reefs, even as the ocean acidifies. But that doesn’t mean that coral reefs are in the clear. First, they still need the calcium carbonate building blocks that make their homes—which are expected to be scarcer in an acidifying sea. Second, they’ll still be under dire threat from warming waters and algal blooms that can lead to coral bleaching and death.

来源: Science 浏览次数:0

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