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 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 »
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
Filed under: coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: Australia, coral reefs, Environment, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A coral reef at the Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy Jim Maragos/USFWS.
Consumers should choose products carefully
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — All that sunscreen you slather on at the beach may help you prevent sunburn, but it’s not, as long suspected, the best for coral reefs. Turns out that a chemical used in many sunscreens, along with soap, cosmetics and body fragrances, is highly toxic to corals.
Research by scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science shows that even very low concentrations of benzophenone-2, or BP-2, can quickly kill juvenile corals. The additive has been used in personal-care products since the 1960s to protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, oceans, sunscreen | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Trouble at the bottom of the Caribbean, as researchers document high concentrations of toxics in sediments.
Toxins may be harming coral reef ecosystems
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Standing along the shore of Guánica Bay, Puerto Rico, the dazzling aquamarine Caribbean waters look normal. But deep below the surface, there may be trouble brewing, according to researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Pollutants measured in the sediments of the bay are among the highest ever measured by NOAA’s National Status & Trends, a nationwide contaminant monitoring program that began in 1986. The pollutants include PCBs, chlordane, chromium and nickel, according to the new NOAA study. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, Guánica Bay, oceans, pollution, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A diverse coral reef in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo by Caroline Rogers/USGS.
‘We’re desperately trying to save what’s left, and cleaning up the water may be one mechanism that has the most promise …’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — By setting up a long-term, controlled exposure experiment in Florida, researchers were able to pin down the impact of nutrient overloads and separate them from other possible causes of coral reef decline.
The three-year study, confirmed what scientists have long suspected — pollution from sewage, agricultural runoff and other land-based sources can lead to coral disease and bleaching.
The results showed that the prevalence of disease doubled and the amount of coral bleaching, an early sign of stress, more than tripled. However, the study also found that once the injection of pollutants was stopped, the corals were able to recover in a surprisingly short time. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, Florida Keys, nutrient pollution, oceans, Oregon State University | Leave a comment »