Posted on July 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study findings to help inform coastal management
Dredging near coral reefs can lead to chronic disease and decline.
FRISCO — Along with the stress of global warming and the disappearance of reef-grazing fish, corals are also beset by the increasing pace of coastal development — specifically dredging — which can increase the frequency of diseases affecting corals.
Australian researchers with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies made their findings after studying a site near Barrow Island, off the West Australian coast, where an 18-month, 7-million cubic metre dredging project took place, developing a channel to accommodate ships transporting liquefied gas to a nearby processing plant. The site was in otherwise very good condition. Continue reading
Filed under: coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: Australia, coral reefs, Environment, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Zoning coastal waters could help preserve marine resources for future generations. bberwyn photo.
Scientists call for ‘zoning’ of coastal waters
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Piecemeal planning and conservation efforts won’t be enough to preserve valuable ocean resources for future generations, a leading group of environmental and marine scientists said last week, calling on countries around the world to cooperate on zoning coastal waters in an approach that would mirror common land-use planning efforts.
Effective long-term conservation is crucial because about 20 percent of the world’s population — mostly in developing countries — lives within 60 miles of the coast. Growing populations and worsening climate change impacts ensure that pressures on tropical coastal waters will only grow, they warned. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: conservation, conservation planning, ocean conservation, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Coral reef are gardens of biodiversity and also provide valuable services for coastal populations.
Research quantifies benefits of reef conservation
FRISCO — Coral reefs have long been recognized as important cradles of ocean biodiversity, but they also help protect coastal populations from the brunt of storms. A new study claims that reefs reduce wave energy that would otherwise impact coastlines by 97 percent.
“Coral reefs serve as an effective first line of defense to incoming waves, storms and rising seas,” said Dr. Michael Beck, lead marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy and a co-author of the study, “200 million people across more than 80 nations are at risk if coral reefs are not protected and restored.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, tropical storms and hurricanes | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A coral reef at the Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy Jim Maragos/USFWS.
Consumers should choose products carefully
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — All that sunscreen you slather on at the beach may help you prevent sunburn, but it’s not, as long suspected, the best for coral reefs. Turns out that a chemical used in many sunscreens, along with soap, cosmetics and body fragrances, is highly toxic to corals.
Research by scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science shows that even very low concentrations of benzophenone-2, or BP-2, can quickly kill juvenile corals. The additive has been used in personal-care products since the 1960s to protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, oceans, sunscreen | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Trouble at the bottom of the Caribbean, as researchers document high concentrations of toxics in sediments.
Toxins may be harming coral reef ecosystems
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Standing along the shore of Guánica Bay, Puerto Rico, the dazzling aquamarine Caribbean waters look normal. But deep below the surface, there may be trouble brewing, according to researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Pollutants measured in the sediments of the bay are among the highest ever measured by NOAA’s National Status & Trends, a nationwide contaminant monitoring program that began in 1986. The pollutants include PCBs, chlordane, chromium and nickel, according to the new NOAA study. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, Guánica Bay, oceans, pollution, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New study says ‘trickle-down’ impacts likely to have profound effect on seafloor organisms
Fish dwelling deep in the ocean will also feel the impacts of global warming, according to a new study by scientists with the National Oceanography Centre. Photo by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Warming ocean temperatures will have a cascading effect reaching even the deepest parts of the ocean, researchers with the UK’s National Oceanography Centre warned in a new paper published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology.
Their study quantifies future losses in deep-sea marine life, finding that marine life on the ocean floor will decline by up to 38 percent in the North Atlantic and by more than 5 per cent globally during the next century.
These changes will be driven by a reduction in the plants and animals that live at the surface of the oceans that feed deep-sea communities. As a result, ecosystem services such as fishing will be threatened. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: deep sea ecosystems, Environment, global warming, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New research helps narrow range of outcomes for resource managers
New research shows how global warming may affect aquatic species. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — The ecological playing field has changed dramatically since the Endangered Species Act was passed 40 years ago. Along with continued environmental threats like pollution and habitat loss, global warming has emerged as a huge factor in the survival of numerous species.
Resource managers and scientists are still grappling with how warmer temperatures will affect ecosystems, but the range of possible outcomes is starting to become more clear. This month, federal fisheries scientists published a series of papers outlining several scenarios for the coming decades, including case studies for species ranging from chinook salmon to steelhead to 82 different types of coral. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: aquatic species, climate change, endangered species, endangered species act, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A diverse coral reef in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo by Caroline Rogers/USGS.
‘We’re desperately trying to save what’s left, and cleaning up the water may be one mechanism that has the most promise …’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — By setting up a long-term, controlled exposure experiment in Florida, researchers were able to pin down the impact of nutrient overloads and separate them from other possible causes of coral reef decline.
The three-year study, confirmed what scientists have long suspected — pollution from sewage, agricultural runoff and other land-based sources can lead to coral disease and bleaching.
The results showed that the prevalence of disease doubled and the amount of coral bleaching, an early sign of stress, more than tripled. However, the study also found that once the injection of pollutants was stopped, the corals were able to recover in a surprisingly short time. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, Florida Keys, nutrient pollution, oceans, Oregon State University | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Australian study finds warmer ocean temps may be causing problems for coral trout and other large reef fish
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Warmer water temperatures in the southeastern Pacific Ocean are taking a toll on coral trout, according to a new study from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.
Fish rely on swimming for almost all activities necessary for survival, including hunting for food and finding mates, said Dr, Jacob Johansen, explaining that their research found that global warming may reduce the swimming ability of many fish species, and “have major impacts on their ability to grow and reproduce.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Australia, climate impacts, coral reefs, coral trout, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Elkhorn coral is in steep decline in the Caribbean. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Study suggests many abundant species won’t do well with global warming
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The most abundant and widespread coral species could take the biggest hit from climate change, as warming temperatures and changing water chemistry take their toll on marine ecosystems, according to University of Hawaii and NOAA researchers.
The new findings call into question previous assumptions that corals don’t face a risk of extinction unless they become very rare or have a very restricted range. The team of scientists from the University of Hawaii – Manoa Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that global changes in climate and ocean chemistry affect corals whether scare or abundant. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, global warming, oceans | 1 Comment »