Underwater Volcanic Seeps (Papua New Guinea II)
In Papua New Guinea, volcanic carbon dioxide fizzles from the seafloor alongside diverse and healthy coral reefs. These underwater volcanic seeps add heated water with high concentrations of carbon dioxide that results in temperature and acidity levels similar to those predicted by climate change models at the end of the century. Despite the acidity levels that are commonly regarded as too extreme for corals to build their calcareous skeletons, the reefs in this area are thriving, and hosting highly diverse communities of all marine animals. These photos of a major seeps area near Ambitle Island were taken while on a research expedition as part of the CARIOCA project (Coral reef acclimatization to ocean acidification). It illustrates corals and other animals living in close proximity to the seeps, where the water is very acidic.