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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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