Posted on April 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Australian study shows how recreational and commercial fishing affect reef health
FRISCO —Biologists have long known that removing key predators from the food chain has top-down impacts on ecosystems, and a new study by Australian researchers shows the same holds true for coral reefs. Fishing, they say, is having a big impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
The loss of species like coral trout and snappers has altered the balance and structure of the coral reef ecosystem, raising the number of herbivorous and small prey fish, the scientists concluded after comparing fish abundance in protected parts of the reef with other areas. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: apex predators, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, coral reefs, Great Barrier Reef, groupers, Parrotfish | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
As early as 2012, scientists documented how oil and oil dispersants damaged communities of deep sea coral in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy Lophelia II 2010, NOAA OER and BOEMR.
‘It doesn’t take as much dispersant to kill a coral as it does oil’
FRISCO — New laboratory studies on the use of oil dispersants during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill show that the dispersant is more toxic to coldwater corals than the spilled oil.
The findings, published near the fifth anniversary of the spill, may help agencies developing future strategies for applying dispersants at oil spills that are more helpful than harmful to the environment, according to the scientists from Temple University and Penn State University. Continue reading
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, corals, Deepwater horizon oil spill, oil spill dispersants | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A section of the Great Barrier Reef photographed from the International Space Station.
Australian scientists offer common-sense plan to restore coral reef ecosystem
FRISCO — After a 40-year span when the Great Barrier Reef lost half its coral cover, and with global warming looming for the future, Australian scientists say fundamental changes are needed to protect the reef.
Better policies focusing on science, protection and conservation are the key, a team of leading researchers wrote this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, arguing that all the stressors on the Reef need to be reduced for it to recover. Continue reading
Filed under: coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Australia, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, Great Barrier Reef | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
More information equals more conservation options
FRISCO — After issuing a general warning about the potential for widespread coral reef bleaching this year, federal scientists now say they have the ability to make more detailed projections about the timing and geographic distribution of such events.
The concerns this summer focus around emerging El Niño conditions, which could overheat parts of the world’s oceans that have already been hovering at near-record temperatures. Most coral reefs in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico will experience bleaching by mid-century, but if scientists can pinpoint the timing, it gives them more conservation options. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, coral reefs, El Niño, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Caribbean, climate change, coral reef bleaching, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Study shows rebound of coral trout in no-fishing zones
FRISCO — Long-term monitoring in the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem shows that marine protection pays off in a big way, as scientists said that coral trout biomass has more than doubled since the 1980s in the green zones.
The trout in the protected reserves are bigger and more abundant than those in fished “blue zones” of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and they are also better able to cope with cyclone damage, according to a long-term study published today in Current Biology. Similar approaches may be beneficial for coral reefs around the world, the researcher concluded. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral trout, Great Barrier Reef, marine protected areas | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘As a wealthy country, Australia has the capability and responsibility to improve its management of the reef’
FRISCO — Strong local management may be the key to preserving treasured world heritage sites, researchers concluded in a new study after taking a close look at threats facing the Amazon Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and Spain’s Doñana wetlands.
The team of scientists, who published their findings in the journal Science, said protecting such areas from the larger dangers of climate change requires addressing local threats, for example overfishing, fertilizer pollution and land clearing — all of which can exacerbate the effects of climatic extremes, such as heat waves and droughts. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Amazon Rainforest, climate change, Environment, Great Barrier Reef, pollution, world heritage sites | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Effort could boost genetic diversity of rare species
Pillar coral in the Caribbean. Photo courtesy Mark Vermeij.
Closeup of pillar coral tentacles. Photo courtesy Kristen Marhaver.
FRISCO — With the global warming clock ticking, scientists working on coral reef conservation say they’ve been able to raise a rare pillar corals in a lab.
The project provides the first photos and documentation of juveniles of this species, and could provide information to help bolster local coral reef conservation, according to the study published in the open access journal BMC Ecology.
The scientist also plan to ‘out-plant’ these lab-grown juveniles in the wild which could help populations become more resilient to climate change. Small juveniles of this species have never been seen in over 30 years of surveys in the Caribbean. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Caribbean, climate change, coral reef conservation, coral reefs, pillar coral | Leave a comment »