Discovering Climate History in Coral Skeletons

February 16, 2022

Kristine DeLong, Louisiana State University

The skeletons of massive corals grow in layers, similar to tree rings, that can be counted to determine the years of growth. Scientists can look at the chemistry of each of these layers to see what the water temperature was when that part of the coral skeleton was growing, as well as other indicators of environmental conditions. By stringing together these yearly skeletal records, scientists can chronicle how the ocean and the coral reef have changed over time.

This presentation is part of the Seaside Chats speaker series hosted by NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.