New research will help islands prepare for future coastal hazards
Sometime before Columbus sailed into the Caribbean, a massive ocean upheaval tossed giant coral boulders far inland on tiny island — a sign that there may have a tsunami, or perhaps an extra-powerful hurricane in the region.
The new findings, published in the journal Geosphere, will help coastal planners prepare for unexpected hazards, according to researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey. The boulders were found in the British Virgin Islands at Anegada—a low-lying island named by Columbus in 1493 and located behind a coral reef that faces the Puerto Rico Trench. Continue reading “Mega-waves swept Caribbean corals far inland”→
Under-reporting of catches documented by nonprofit research group
The marine environment around some Caribbean islands is still threatened by unsustainable fishing, according to a new study that documents the under-reporting of catches in the Turks and Caicos Islands. According to the research, catches on the islands were 86 percent higher than what was reported to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, a finding with troubling implication for sustainable fisheries efforts.
A new analysis of tree rings and shipwreck records has now helped created a more detailed look at historic hurricane activity in the time before scientists were able to accurately count the tropical systems. The findings show there was a big drop in hurricanes between 1645 and 1715, during an era of reduced sunspot activity and generally cool temperatures in the northern hemisphere.
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 “Genetics help pinpoint origins of lionfish invasion”→
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.
‘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 “Scientists link warming ocean with coral-killing disease”→