ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- A new study by a University of Georgia researcher shows extremely low temperatures can affect coral reefs, just as high temperatures can.
UGA researcher Dustin Kemp grew interested in the subject after an extended cold snap in reefs off of the Florida Keys in early 2010 revealed a reef that was essentially dead.
Kemp tested different types of coral in cold water. He found that while responses varied among the types, the stress of extended cold temperatures had a similar effect to that of high temperatures.
Kemp said the study shows that warming might not be the only climate-related problem for coral reefs. And he said the problem affects the animal populations like lobsters, shrimp, clams and fish that live in such ecosystems.