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Growing Crystals

Growing Crystals

January 12, 2015

Tom DeCarlo conducts experiments in the laboratory of WHOI geologist Glenn Gaetani to precipitate aragonite, the mineral that corals use to build their skeletons and construct coral reefs. DeCarlo, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, tweaks the chemistry of seawater in beakers to form aragonite crystals and then compares the chemical composition of the crystals with those from actual coral skeletons to gain new insights into the biochemical mechanism by which corals build their skeletons. This knowledge helps scientists learn how coral skeleton-building will be affected by ongoing ocean acidification.(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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