2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

Is Coral Growth Affected By Increasing Concentrations Of Iron or CO2 In Sea Water?
Josh W. Akers
Dr. George L. Shinn, Faculty Mentor

In the face of declining coral populations due to global warming, biologists are searching for ways to artificially enhance coral growth rates. My experiments, conducted at the World Aquarium in St. Louis, Missouri, were designed to test the hypothesis that growth of reef corals can be enhanced by "fertilizing" them with iron. 110 mL of "aquarium iron" was added weekly to a 1,100 gallon tank containing three coral species (leather, button, and tree corals). The height, width, and depth of each colony were measured every other weekday and colony volumes were calculated. Gaseous CO2 was continuously bubbled into a 125 gallon tank containing these same species to test the effects of increasing CO2. A 250 gallon control tank received neither additional iron or CO2. Over the ten week period of the study, the added iron enhanced the growth of the leather and tree corals, only. Increased CO2 showed no affect.

Keywords: Coral, Growth, Iron , Carbon Dioxide


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 43-1
Location: VH 1432
Time: 2:45

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