More recently, during the Holocene, Pandolfi et al. say that "evidence from high-resolution proxy records suggests that tropical SSTs had the potential to repeatedly warm over centennial to millennial time scales (Rosenthal et al., 2003; Schmidt et al., 2004)." And in one location, they say that SSTs rose "at rates comparable to those projected for the coming century (Lea et al., 2003)," yet they add that "none of these post-Last Glacial Maximum warming episodes appear to have interrupted reef growth."
As for current coral responses to SST increases, the four scientists note that "numerous characteristics of coral hosts have the potential to confer differences in bleaching susceptibility," and they report that "these characteristics vary substantially within and among coral species (Baird et al., 2009a; Csaszar et al., 2010)." In addition, they note that "some coral species also harbor multiple strains of zooxanthellae, which confer differential susceptibility of their hosts to bleaching (Rowan, 2004)." And they say there is also "substantial variation in reef recovery in the aftermath of bleaching events (Baker et al., 2008)."
The story is much the same with respect to coral responses to ocean acidification. Pandolfi et al. note, for example, that there have been studies where calcification actually increased under moderately elevated partial pressures of CO2 (Rodolfo-Metalpa et al., 2010; Jury et al., 2010; Reynaud et al., 2003), as has also been observed for some coralline algae, crustacea and echinoderms (Ries et al., 2009)." And they add that sensitivity of calcification to ocean acidification "appears to be reduced when (i) studies are conducted over weeks or months (Ries et al., 2009; Rodolfo-Metalpa et al., 2010; Marubini et al., 2001; Reynaud et al., 2003) as opposed to less than one day (Langdon and Atkinson, 2005; Ohde and Hossain, 2004) or (ii) corals are reared under nutritionally replete conditions by feeding or elevating inorganic nutrient concentrations (Langdon and Atkinson, 2005; Ries et al., 2009)."
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