Posted on April 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Red lionfish are swarming the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Photo courtesy USGS.
New data may help control efforts
FRISCO— Biologists and resource managers grappling with invasive red lionfish in the Caribbean have some new clues based on genetic research.
Without natural predators, lionfish have spread throughout the western Atlantic, displacing native fish and disrupting ecosystems.
In a new study released this week, U.S. Geological Survey researchers say the invasion probably started in multiple locations. Florida had been fingered as the likely source, but the analysis suggest that multiple introductions occurred, with some potentially coming from the more southern parts of the range. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: Caribbean, Environment, invasive species, lionfish, oceans, red lionfish | 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 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: Environment, global warming, biodiversity, coral reefs | Tagged: climate change, Caribbean, coral reefs, coral reef conservation, pillar coral | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Elkhorn coral in the Caribbean Sea. Photo via NOAA.
‘Our data show that climate change has helped drive down staghorn and elkhorn corals …’
FRISCO — Elkhorn and staghorn corals, once widespread across the Caribbean, have all but disappeared from the region, and scientists at the Florida Institute of Technology think they know why — ocean warming has been a big factor in the die-off, making the corals more susceptible to white-band disease.
“Our data show that climate change has helped drive down staghorn and elkhorn corals by boosting white-band disease,” said Florida Tech Ph.D. student Carly Randall. “We still don’t know if the disease is caused by a marine microbe, but now we do know that changes in the environment contributed to the problem.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Caribbean, coral reefs, elkhorn coral, global warming, staghorn coral, white-band disease | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Could there be a tsunami in the Caribbean?
Guadeloupe seen as focal point for unreleased tectonic strain
FRISCO — The risk of a large earthquake and subsequent tsunami may be greater than previously thought, U.S. Geological Survey researchers say after studying the plate boundary in the Lesser Antilles region, where 20 of the 26 Caribbean islands are located.
The geologists estimate that enough unreleased strain may have accumulated offshore of Guadeloupe to potentially create a magnitude 8.0-8.4 earthquake. A magnitude 7.5 – 8.5 quake in 1843 killed several thousand people in Guadeloupe, and a similar quake in the future could cause several tens to several hundreds of fatalities, and hundreds of millions to billions of U.S. dollars in damages. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: Caribbean, earthquakes, tsunami, USGS | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Reef-grazing fish crucial to coral health
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Endangered Caribbean corals got a little help this week from a federal court judge, who ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service must consider how fishing affects reef health.
According to the court, the federal agency erred by allowing fishing for depleted parrotfish and other algae-eating reef fish species without properly monitoring the fishery’s impacts on rare corals that depend on healthy fish populations.
The decision came in response to an Endangered Species Act suit filed in January 2012 by Earthjustice on behalf of two conservation groups, CORALations and the Center for Biological Diversity, and Mary Adele Donnelly. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Caribbean, coral reefs, Environment, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Elkhorn corals in the Caribbean are feeling the heat of global warming. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Fisheries Service gets deadline for recovery plan under court settlement
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Two key coral species around Florida need even more TLC than previously thought, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which wants to reclassify elkhorn and staghorn corals from “threatened” to the even more serious category of “endangered” because of their rapid decline.
The agency also agree to speed up finalization of a recovery plan under a court settlement that sets a 2014 deadline. These corals were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2006 because of threats from global warming and ocean acidification but, before today’s settlement agreement, had still not received the legally required recovery plan needed to save them from extinction. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Caribbean, coral reefs, endangered species act, Environment, global warming, national marine fisheries service, ocean acidification, oceans | 1 Comment »