Corals record monsoon patterns, marine chemistry variations

Not many people are aware that there are big live corals around Singapore. And not many are aware that corals grow by forming layers, much like trees that form growth ring each year. Because these coral layers “lock-in” certain chemicals under different environmental conditions, they can serve as great archives of past environmental changes.

Studying these coral bands can provide us with important information on environmental changes, including regional climate change and heavy metal (such as lead) pollution. By analysing these corals, researchers from the Singapore MIT-Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) can look back over multiple decades, even hundreds of years, to track environmental changes through time.

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