coral reef tagged posts

Actions to save coral reefs could benefit all ecosystems

Coral reefs are under threat

Scientists say bolder actions to protect coral reefs from the effects of global warming will benefit all ecosystems, including those on land. In an article published in Nature today two researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Coral CoE at JCU) say the world’s reefs will disappear by 2070 if climate change continues on its current path. Even well-protected World Heritage-listed coral reefs have been increasingly damaged by regional and global bleaching since 1980.

Prof Tiffany Morrison and Prof Terry Hughes suggest a new, holistic approach to safeguarding coral reefs by focussing on land as well as the ocean.

“We must take a new, bolder approach to tackle the underlying causes of coral reef decline,” lead author Prof Morrison said...

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Coral Reef in Italy Discovered

When you want to go diving to see those majestic coral reefs, Italy is probably not the first country you’d consider going to. In fact, it might not be one of the countries that’s in your short list. Nobody knew of the coral reef hiding in the great coast of Italy until now.

The reef, identified in a new study published in Scientific Reports, wasn’t found sitting just below the surface of some shallow lagoon where it’s easily noticeable. Instead, it sits below the ocean waves, hidden from the very little light that beams from above.

The coral reefs that have won the hearts of many all over the world are usually from the Caribbean, Australia and everywhere else where this majestic oasis of sea life gets a very good source of sunlight...

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First coral reef in Italy discovered on Adriatic coast

The coral reef extends for at least two and a half kilometres.

The first coral reef in Italy has been identified, according to researchers. The underwater ecosystem extends for at least two and a half kilometres on the Adriatic coast near Monopoli, in Puglia. It is the first mesophotic coral reef – a term applied to ecosystems with low levels of light – to be found in the Mediterranean.

These types of reef “are found at depths ranging from 30–40 metres … up to 200 metres”, the researchers write in the study published in Nature.

For this reason, the colours of the coral reef in Puglia are more subtle than the better-known varieties in the Pacific.

“The famous Australian or Maldivian coral reefs rise almost to the surface of the water, making the most of the sunlight that is the real fuel of these ecosystems,” said Prof Giuseppe ...

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Ocean heat waves are killing underwater life, threatening biodiversity

Dense Sea Grass

INTENSE HEAT WAVES are bad for human health. They can lead to sometimes deadly conditions like dehydration and stroke. And just like extreme temperatures on land, marine heat waves can drastically alter life under the sea.

A new study published today in Nature Climate Change found that the occurrences of marine heat waves have substantially grown in the past three decades, and it’s becoming clearer how deadly warmer temperatures are for biodiversity.

Marine heat waves are periods when the average water temperature of a given region is exceptionally high. In the past 30 years marine heat wave days have increased by just over 54 percent, a trend the study’s authors found consistent with declines in oceans life.

High-profile marine heat waves like “the blob,” a huge mass of wa...

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Coral reefs threatened by freshwater as much as rising temps

Coral reef threatened by freshwater

Scientists have found that dramatic changes in ocean salinity trigger the same stress response in corals as extreme heat. For example, when severe freshwater flooding greatly reduces the salinity of the seawater, corals can experience potentially fatal “freshwater bleaching.”

The researchers used the sequenced genome of the common reef-building coral Acropora millepora to detect changes in the coral’s biology when exposed to a sudden drop in seawater salinity. The experts observed a biochemical response which was similar to that from marine heatwaves, but potentially more damaging.

“Using the sophisticated labs at the National Sea Simulator, we put both young and adult corals under a salinity stress test to see how they respond to differing salinity concentrations,” said stu...

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Are Hawaiian Corals Adjusting to Warmer Temperatures?

Co-author Keisha Bahr surveying a healthy coral colony. PC: Ji Hoon.

A team of researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum conducted a study of coral resiliency that showed some corals are better able to tolerate heat than similar corals tested in the 1970s. But scientists say it will not be fast enough to fight off rising sea temperatures.

The scientists replicated the identical experimental system, methodology, coral species, collection site, and even brought in one of the original researchers, Steve Coles, adjunct faculty at the UH Mānoa Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB)...

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What the world can learn from Brazilian coral reefs

Field work in murky water to illustrate how Brazilian reefs surrounded by murky water due to a greater river input to coastal waters

We usually imagine coral reefs as underwater tropical wonderlands, bursting with life and living on a fragile balance. 

While climate change and other human impacts are indeed threatening coral reefs on a global scale, not all corals are the same. 

In fact, here in Brazil our reefs have very low diversity of coral species, but some of these species are only found here and they are pretty special. 

Is Brazilian coral more resistant to climate change?

While many reefs have suffered from especially warm ocean temperatures in recent years, coral species in Brazil have been particularly sturdy. In fact, we haven’t seen any mass mortality events related to bleaching so far.

So, could Brazilian corals hold the key to more resilient reefs?

The natural conditions found in coral...

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Scientists Find Some Hope for Coral Reefs

Healthy Coral Reef

Among the threatened corals of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world that has been ravaged by global warming, researchers have found a reason for optimism — or at least a reason not to despair completely.

Coral reefs, which by some estimates support a quarter of all ocean life, are harmed by warming oceans. The effects can be seen in the loss of their vibrant colors, a phenomenon known as bleaching. But after ocean temperatures surged in 2016 around the Great Barrier Reef, causing severe damage, researchers found that the corals that survived were more resistant to another period of extreme warmth the following year.

“It’s one enormous natural selection event,” said Terry Hughes, an expert on coral reefs at James Cook University in Australia and...

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We can assess the health of coral reefs by the sounds algae make

beautiful colours of the coral reef

When oceanographers Lauren and Simon Freeman, a couple who work with the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Rhode Island, first mentioned what they’d heard to others, the response was not exactly positive. They’d been listening to sounds they were certain had been made by marine macroalgae covering underwater coral reefs in Hawaii. Simon recalls, “We were told the sound was from snapping shrimp, end of story.” But, listening at a few locations, they saw a correlation between the amount of sound and the quantity of algae. Further research has pretty much confirmed their hunch, and they’ve introduced a new avenue for marine acoustic ecology: Assessing the health of reefs according to the sounds they make.

Algae, like plants on dry land, convert sunlight and carbon dioxide to energy vi...

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Coral Reefs Around The World Are In Grave Danger

Coral reefs are under threat

What’s Happening

One of the most wonderous living things on earth is coral. Humans view its diversity and hues as a gorgeous, underwater decoration. But, it is a living organism that supports the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of species in the underwater ecosystem. Man may appreciate its wonder, but our destructive tendencies are harming this vital member of the oceans and seas. Here’s what you need to know about the grave threats facing coral reefs. If we don’t act soon, we may destroy these beautiful pieces of the earth.

What Exactly Is Coral?

Corals are relatives of the sea anemone. They are all made of the same simple structure: the polyp. The polyp resembles a tin can open at one end: the open end has a mouth surrounded by tentacles...

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