Over-harvesting of reef-grazers results in reefs being overgrown by seaweed
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Spear-fishing harvests of weed-eating fish is pushing some coral reef ecosystems over the brink, according to Australian researchers. Preserving populations of species like parrotfish and surgeonfish may be vital to saving the world’s coral reefs from being engulfed by weed as human and climate impacts grow, the scientists with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies concluded.
For some years researchers have pinned their hopes on the ability of weed-eating fish to keep the weeds at bay while the corals recover following a major setback like bleaching, a dump of sediment from the land, or a violent cyclone. The weed-grazing species are key to coral reef ecosystems, but they can only keep coral reefs clear of weed up to a point. After the weeds reach a certain density, they take over entirely and the coral is lost. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, global warming, Marine biology | Tagged: coral reefs, Ecology Letters, Environment, global warming, Great Barrier Reef, James Cook University, marine biology, Orpheus Island National Park, Sargassum, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News | 1 Comment »