Posted on May 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite photo shows a slice of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Ancient climate clues warn about impacts of modern human activities
FRISCO — Turbulent seas, loaded with sediment and nutrients at the end of the last ice age likely set back growth of the Great Barrier Reef by centuries, according to scientists who recently took a close look at the reef’s biological history.
The findings are important because those environmental conditions are similar to what the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing today as a result of human activities, including the controversial coal port dredging that’s seen as a huge threat to Australia’s cherished ocean landmark. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: climate change, coral reefs, Environment, Great Barrier Reef, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Australian study shows how recreational and commercial fishing affect reef health
FRISCO —Biologists have long known that removing key predators from the food chain has top-down impacts on ecosystems, and a new study by Australian researchers shows the same holds true for coral reefs. Fishing, they say, is having a big impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
The loss of species like coral trout and snappers has altered the balance and structure of the coral reef ecosystem, raising the number of herbivorous and small prey fish, the scientists concluded after comparing fish abundance in protected parts of the reef with other areas. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: apex predators, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, coral reefs, Great Barrier Reef, groupers, Parrotfish | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
As early as 2012, scientists documented how oil and oil dispersants damaged communities of deep sea coral in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy Lophelia II 2010, NOAA OER and BOEMR.
‘It doesn’t take as much dispersant to kill a coral as it does oil’
FRISCO — New laboratory studies on the use of oil dispersants during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill show that the dispersant is more toxic to coldwater corals than the spilled oil.
The findings, published near the fifth anniversary of the spill, may help agencies developing future strategies for applying dispersants at oil spills that are more helpful than harmful to the environment, according to the scientists from Temple University and Penn State University. Continue reading
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: coral reefs, corals, Deepwater horizon oil spill, oil spill dispersants | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A section of the Great Barrier Reef photographed from the International Space Station.
Australian scientists offer common-sense plan to restore coral reef ecosystem
FRISCO — After a 40-year span when the Great Barrier Reef lost half its coral cover, and with global warming looming for the future, Australian scientists say fundamental changes are needed to protect the reef.
Better policies focusing on science, protection and conservation are the key, a team of leading researchers wrote this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, arguing that all the stressors on the Reef need to be reduced for it to recover. Continue reading
Filed under: coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Australia, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, Great Barrier Reef | 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 March 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘The clock is ticking …’
Caribbean corals are under the gun from global warming and local threats.
Can elkhorn coral be saved?
FRISCO — Federal scientists say it may be possible to save the fantastic undersea gardens of elkhorn and staghorn corals, but continuing increases of heat-trapping greenhouse gases will impede that recovery.
The findings are outlined in a recovery plan for the corals, which were put on the Endangered Species List in 2006 after a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, global warming, Marine biology, endangered species, climate and weather, ocean conservation, climate change | Tagged: global warming, endangered species, climate change, coral reefs, elkhorn coral, staghorn coral, coral reef recovery | Leave a comment »