A study has found that a tiny chemical compound found in salt is responsible for the production of coral reefs.
The study, led by researchers at the University of Southern California, found that coral reef production can be achieved through the combination of a combination of two key compounds.
One is called sulfate, which is the main ingredient of salt.
The other is calcium carbonate, a mineral that is also found in some seaweeds.
The combination produces a very stable, stable, strong, beautiful, and resilient reef structure that can last for centuries, the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.
“These properties make this compound the most important of all the marine constituents,” said study lead author James G. Cavanaugh, a professor of oceanography at USC.
“And this compound is found in all kinds of marine organisms.”
The researchers have been working to find out why these marine elements are important to coral reefs since at least the 1960s, but the research could help scientists better understand why certain organisms, such as algae, are more resistant to the effects of climate change than others.
“Our study shows that coral reefs in tropical coastal areas and on islands can be maintained for a long time by a combination, but only in the presence of a very specific combination of these two important marine elements,” said Cavanaugh.
“We have shown that we can get coral reefs to produce this reef-building compound.”
In the study, researchers collected coral reefs on the islands of Oceania from different parts of the world and studied their chemistry.
They found that certain components of the salt used in reef-making, including sulfate and calcium carbonates, were critical for coral reef growth and survival.
“Sulfate is important because it’s used to make calcium carbonite, and it’s also important because seaweeds can absorb the sulfate from seawater,” said lead author Elizabeth J. McInnis, a doctoral student in oceanography and chemistry.
“These two ingredients help keep coral reefs growing.”
But the other marine element in the seaweeds’ favor was calcium carbonic acid, which was added to the seaweed to prevent it from dissolving.
This is why the seawater is used in many reef-builder products.
“This is one of the ingredients that’s really important,” said McInnes.
“It’s like the glue that holds the whole thing together.
You don’t have to worry about it dissolving.”
The new study found that this calcium carbonicate can be added to seaweeds that already have been made to achieve a stable reef structure.
The researchers found that the combination, along with other seaweeds like corals, produced a strong reef structure, a strong barrier that protects the coral reefs from the damaging effects of seawater, and strong growth of algae that produce nutrients for the coral to use.
The researchers say their results suggest that reef building can be done in an extremely short time, and with the right combination of marine elements.
“It takes a long period of time to get a reef structure to be as good as we would like,” said co-author Emily L. Gabbard, a graduate student in marine biology.
“So it’s good to think of it as a slow, steady process.”
The findings are important, the authors say, because the ability to grow coral reefs is a major part of the global ecosystem, providing food for a wide range of animals and plants, including coral.
“The effects of ocean acidification and warming on coral reefs are real,” said Gabbards co-senior author, Peter R. Pemberton, a researcher in the School of Ocean and Atmospheric Science at USC, “and it will take a long, long time to find a solution.”
This story was originally published by CNN in collaboration with the Ocean Institute.