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 »
Posted on July 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Invasive lionfish won’t be controlled by native predators, leaving human intervention as the main option for management. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Active removal by humans probably the only option for removal
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Invasive lionfish have colonized the Caribbean and have moved up the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. as far as North Carolina, where they now threaten local fish populations, according to marine biologists at the University of North Carolina.
Not only that, but the spiny invaders are out-predating fish like sharks and barracudas, threatening to throw coral reef ecosystems out of whack. The only recourse is human intervention, the scientists said after publishing a paper in the journal PLOS ONE. showing that native predators won’t have much luck supressing the unwanted guests.
“Lionfish are here to stay, and it appears that the only way to control them is by fishing them,” said John Bruno, professor of biology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and lead investigator of the study. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, invasive species, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, Caribbean, coral reefs, invasive species, lionfish, oceans, PLOS ONE, University of North Carolina | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 31, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Caribbean corals struggling to produce enough calcium carbonate to survice
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Many coral reefs in the Caribbean are struggling to keep pace with erosion, as their ability to produce and accumulate calcium carbonate declines in the face of human-caused impacts, researchers from the University of Exeter reported this week. That inability to grow raises serious questions about whether the reefs will be able to adapt to rising sea levels, the researchers reported.
Coral reefs are important ocean biodiversity hotspots and serve as nurseries for a profusion of marine life. In a sweeping decision several weeks ago, federal biologists said at least 66 species of coral in the Caribbean and Pacific are in danger of going extinct because of threats linked to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
Coral cover on reefs in the Caribbean has declined by an average of 80 percent since the 1970s, driven mainly by human disturbance, disease and rising sea temperatures, and are only expected to intensify as a result of future climate change. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, global warming, greenhouse gases, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Caribbean, Coral reef, coral reef decline, Nature Communications, University of Exeter | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 4, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Manatees at risk in Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy NOAA.
USGS research shows isolated population
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Puerto Rico’s manatees could be threatened by extinction because they are relatively isolated genetically, with no cross-breeding between the Puerto Rico population and those in Florida.
The findings, which come from a study of West Indian manatees by the U.S. Geological Survey and Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Center, could help resource managers make decisions about how to conserve the endangered marine mammal. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Caribbean, endangered species, manatees, marine conservation, Puerto Rico, United States Geological Survey | Leave a comment »