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Ascorbic Acid:

A Method for Saving the


Reefs
Caleb Kruse
Coral Reefs
Coral
•Biodiversity Reefs
•1 in 4 marine organisms are
found on reefs

•Medicinal Benefits
•Possible cures for cancer,
arthritis, heart disease,
HIV/AIDS, and more

•Economic Stimulant
•The estimated economic net
worth of the coral reefs is
estimated to be $375 billion
Coral
Overcollection
•Ascorbic acid
Significant Findings
increases the rate
of tissue
regeneration in
fragmented coral

•Coral contain
collagen

•Through ascorbic
acid supplementation
Collagen
production can be
Coral Bleaching

Bleached
Healthy
Coral Bleaching
Significant Findings
•Found a new method for isolating
zooxanthellae from coral

•Ascorbic acid greatly reduced the


rate of zooxanthellal expulsion

•Proved that zooxanthellae is


expelled steadily over time

•Quantified the rate of


zooxanthellal expulsion during heat
induced bleaching
Ocean
CO2
Acidification
+ HO2 H CO 2 3 H +

+ HCO -
•The ocean
3
absorbs 50-90% of
anthropogenic CO2

•Between 1751 and 1994 the oceanic


pH decreased 0.075 pH units

•The Intergovernmental Panel on


Climate Change estimates that by
2100 oceanic pH levels will drop
another 0.5 pH units
Effects of
“The
Acidification
most insidious and pervasive

threat to life
Reduced in the oceans
calcification rates
everywhere”
for calciferous marine
-Jane Lubchenco
organisms

•Destruction of the coral


reefs

•Disruption of the oceanic


food web

•Die-off of calciferous
phytoplankton
Calcification
Purposes
•To determine whether CO2 could
be processed through
photosynthesis by marine
algaes, and and allow the pH
level to remain at a higher
• To determine whether
level
ascorbic acid could increase
calcification rates in
calciferous algaes when
exposed to an acidifying
environment
Hypothesis
•Through the process of
photosynthesis the algaes
will be able to convert CO2
thus keeping the pH at a
• higher
In level
an acidified environment
calciferous algaes will have
a higher rate of
calcification when
supplemented with ascorbic
acid
Why Ascorbic
• Acid?
Artificially produced
collagen
fibrils enhance the
crystalization
and growth of calcium
carbonate CaCO 3

•Collagen is present in coral

•Production of collagen can be


stimulated with ascorbic acid
supplementation
Collagen
Nannochloropsis
oculata
Chaetomorpha
spirallis
Halimeda monile
Udotea flabellum
Procedure Part 1
CO2
Supplementation
Results: C.
spiralis
pH Levels
CO2 Without C. spiralis
CO2 With C. spiralis
Results: C.
spiralis
CO Levels 2
CO2 Without C. spiralis
CO2 With C. spiralis
Results: N.
oculata
pH Levels
CO2 Without N. oculataCO2 With N. oculata
Results: N.
oculata
CO Levels 2
CO2 Without N. oculataCO2 With N. oculata
Conclusion
•The average pH of the CO 2
supplemented compartment with
an algae inside, was 0.5 pH
units higher than the
compartment without algaes
•Through the process of
photosynthesis, the algaes
tested have the ability to
convert CO2 before it turns to
carbonic acid
Procedure Part 2
Results:
Calcification
Calcium Uptake
Conclusion
•Ascorbic acid increased the
rate of calcification by 2.6-
3.5 times
•Collagen fibrils in natural
organisms are able to
increase the crystallization
and growth of calcium
carbonate
Applications
A different source of acidification

Underwater Hydrothermal Vents


Applications
rrent Method to Increase Calcificati

Electrified Reefs
Applications
Ascorbic Acid Supplementation
Applications
Ascorbic Acid Supplementation
Further Research
Isolating the Calcification Gene

Gel Electrophoresis
Questions?