Posted on October 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Australian scientists say a government plan for the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t do enough to mitigate threats.
Global warming, coal port dredging seen as key threats
FRISCO — Leading Australian scientists said this week that the government’s business-as-usual plan for the Great Barrier Reef won’t prevent its decline.
While acknowledging a few positive steps in the plan, the Australian Academy of Scientists said the proposal “fails to effectively address any of the key pressures on the reef including climate change, poor water quality, coastal development and fishing.”
And, as is often the case with planning efforts in the U.S., the Australian government’s vision for the reef also doesn’t acknowledge the cumulative impacts that intensify pressure on one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems.
Filed under: Environment, biodiversity, coral reefs | Tagged: Environment, climate change, Australia, Great Barrier Reef, coal port dredging, Australian Academy of Sciences | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A pelican perches along the coast in Englewood, Florida.
Florida, California and Alaska sites will host pilot phase of research effort
FRISCO — Federal agencies are launching an ambitious $17 million pilot project to monitor ocean biodiversity, recognizing that fragile coastal and marine ecosystems face increasing threats, including climate change.
“To mitigate and adapt to such threats, we need a fuller, more integrated, picture of how the biodiversity within these ecosystems may be changing, especially since marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a press release. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, oceans, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study documents ‘climate refuge’ in Virgin Islands
Boulder brain corals were found in abundance under the mangroves and were healthy, while many of those in unshaded areas a short distance away were bleaching.
Photo Credit: Caroline Rogers, USGS.
FRISCO — Some coral species are finding a refuge of sorts from global warming by finding new habitat in the shade of red mangrove trees.
Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and Eckerd College documented discovery of the refuge in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where more than 30 species of reef corals were found growing in Hurricane Hole, a mangrove habitat within the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument in St. John. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, coral reefs, global warming, mangroves, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Coral growth is slowing dramatically along parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Will the world’s coral reefs simply dissolve as oceans become more acidic?
FRISCO — Scientists monitoring the Great Barrier Reef said they’ve tracked a “perilous” 40 percent slowdown in coral growth rates since the 1970s.
The trend may be linked with increasing ocean acidification, according to the new study led by researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science.
The researchers compared current measurements of the growth rate of a section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with similar measurements taken more than 30 years ago. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate change, CO2, coral reefs, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The lionfish are coming, for better or worse.
New study takes detailed look at changing ocean temperatures
FRISCO — Careful study of ocean temperatures shows how tropical fish are likely to expand northward along the Atlantic coast into the temperate ocean zone off the Carolinas. Invaders could include the poisonous lionfish, which is already causing problems on coral reefs in the Caribbean.
Researchers with NOAA and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington combined year-round bottom water temperature data with 2006-2010 fish community surveys in water depths from 15 to 150 feet off the coast of North Carolina. The study revealed that the fish community was primarily tropical in the deeper areas surveyed, from 122 to 150 feet, with a winter mean temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Many of the native tropical fishes, usually abundant in shallow, somewhat cooler reefs, tended to remain in the deeper, warmer water, suggesting that temperature is a main factor in controlling their distribution. The findings were published in the September issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, invasive species | Tagged: climate change, global warming, invasive species, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Observations around the Florida Keys show a big jump in the average late-summer water temperature, leading to increased coral reef die-offs.
New USGS study documents dramatic increase in ocean temperatures around the Florida Keys
FRISCO — Even without a big ocean-warming El Niño event, coral reefs around the Florida Keys are being stressed by warmer water. Scientists say the number of bleaching events is going up as average sea surface temperatures in the region increase.
Just in the past few decades, average late-summer water temperatures near the Florida Keys were warmer by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit compared to a century earlier, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, Florida Keys, global warming | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Widespread threats lead to “threatened” listing for 20 coral species under the Endangered Species Act. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Conservation and recovery plans will be crafted in partnership with coastal communities
FRISCO — Twenty types of coral in the Pacific and Caribbean will be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, federal officials announced this week, citing declines of up to 90 percent in some species. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, global warming, oceans | Leave a comment »