coral reef tagged posts

Home school with a virtual dive into the ocean

Remote diving is the new remote working. Schools, events and activities in so much of the world have come to a standstill in the wake of COVID-19, with little or no movement recommended. But that does not mean we cannot still enjoy the world and mysteries that abound below and above its surface.

The Ocean Agency, a partner of the United Nations Environment Programme, is inviting parents and their little ones to experience the ocean and its astounding life forms from the comfort of their homes through a little armchair travel.

Get inspired and engaged with virtual dives, expeditions and ocean quizzes about the fascinating underwater world in a click on your phone or laptop.

Discover coral reefs—some of the Earth’s most diverse ecosystems, full of color, life and mystery—and why they are va...

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A new tool for identifying climate-adaptive coral reefs

Coral bleaching caused by climate change

Climate change is threatening the world’s coral reefs, and saving them all will prove impossible. A team from EPFL has developed a method for identifying corals with the greatest adaptive potential to heat stress. The research, published in the journal Evolutionary Applications, should support improved and better-targeted marine biodiversity conservation strategies.

Coral reefs are home to up to one-third of global marine biodiversity and, as such, are a high conservation priority. Yet these precious ecosystems have declined rapidly in the past 20 years, resulting in significant species loss and bringing socioeconomic hardship to tropical regions of the world that rely heavily on fishing and tourism. This decline is driven by bleaching, the process by which coral dies.

Bleaching occurs ...

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Coral reefs could be gone by 2100

Bleached coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas in February 2017.

Climate change could wipe out almost all coral reef habitats around the world by 2100, according to research released Monday. The bleak outlook forecasts that warming oceans and rising seas could have a devastating impact on ocean ecosystems, suggesting that efforts to restore dying corals will likely encounter difficulties as global warming continues to wipe out habitats that could once support healthy reef systems.

“By 2100, it’s looking quite grim,” Renee Setter, a biogeographer at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, said in a statement. She presented her findings at the annual Ocean Sciences Meeting, which is being held through Friday in San Diego.

Setter and her colleagues simulated ocean environments in which coral reefs currently exist based on projections of sea surface temperatur...

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Health of reefs in Malaysia slowly declining in last five years

A school of fish swims in the Coral Sea

The overall health of coral reefs in Malaysia is considered to be “fair”, but has been slowly declining in the last five years, according to a report by Reef Check Malaysia. According to the 2019 annual survey report where a total of 180 sites across Malaysia were surveyed last year, average live coral cover was 40.63%.

In 2014, the average live coral cover was 48.11%, while in 2015, it dropped to 45.95% before declining in the following years.

Of the 180 sites surveyed last year, 97 were in peninsular Malaysia while the remaining 83 were in east Malaysia.

The surveys were conducted with the help of volunteers and dive centres around the country.

Reef Check Malaysia, a marine conservation organisation, has been monitoring coral reef health in Malaysia since 2007, and this is the thirt...

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How Scientists Plan to Save our Coral Reefs

An ecologist with the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium tends to coral in a reef restoration area, or nursery, in the Florida Keys.

When ecologist Carly Randall first dove into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef in 2017, she was bracing herself for the worst. During the prior year or so, the reef had been ravaged by back-to-back heat waves and an invasion of crown-of-thorns.

When corals get too hot, they release the algae that live in their cells and provide them with nutrients, turning the corals white and sometimes causing them to starve. And crown-of-thorns starfish, which look like hostile creatures from a B movie, feast on reef-building corals, leaving behind skeletons.

But rather than a disintegrating ecosystem reminiscent of a horror flick, Randall saw a reef full of vibrant corals, teeming with fish and other aquatic life...

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Can an underwater soundtrack bring coral back to life?

A coral reef in the Similan Islands

The ocean is a vast, quiet place, right? Vast, yes; quiet, not so much. As a researcher who studies coral reefs, I’ve floated above many and, when I listen closely, my ears are invariably filled with sounds. There might be the sound of small waves breaking on the beach and coral rubble rolling on the sand as the waves retreat. Beyond the sound of water, there is something quieter.

For some people, these faint noises sound like the snap, crackle and pop of breakfast cereal when milk hits it; for others, they are reminiscent of frying bacon.

Whatever the analogy, they are natural reef sounds, and noisy reefs are a very good thing. So good, in fact, that we might be able to use the sound of healthy coral reefs to improve the quickly increasing number of degraded ones.

For the past three de...

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Ocean acidification a big problem – but not for coral reef fish behavior

AN ASSEMBLY OF DAMSELFISHES ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF IN AUSTRALIA. SEVERAL OF THESE DAMSELFISH SPECIES WERE USED BY THE RESEARCHERS IN THEIR STUDY. PHOTO: FREDRIK JUTFELT/NTNU

A three-year, comprehensive study of the effects of ocean acidification challenges previous reports that a more acidic ocean will negatively affect coral reef fish behaviour. The study, conducted by an international coalition led by scientists from Australia and Norway, showed that coral reef fish exposed to CO2 at levels expected by the end of the century did not change their activity levels or ability to avoid predators.

“Contrary to previous studies, we have demonstrated that end-of-century CO2 levels have a negligible impact on the behaviour and sensory systems of coral reef fish,” said Timothy Clark, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at Deakin University in Australia.

Although this is good news on its own, ocean acidification and global warming remain a major pr...

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NOAA Targets 7 ‘Iconic’ Keys Reefs For $100 Million Restoration

A diver cleans algae from staghorn coral at a Coral Reef Restoration Foundation nursery

For decades, most of the news about coral reefs has been pretty gloomy. Now the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is launching a new mission to bring back a few of those reefs. Reefs along the Keys once commonly had coral cover of 30 to 40 percent of its surfaces. Those healthy reefs protected the Keys from storms, nurtured fish and lobsters and helped create a thriving tourism industry that relies heavily on diving, snorkeling and fishing.

Now the coral cover is more like 2 percent on a lot of the reefs that still draw tourists.

“Frankly, we cannot afford to let these declines continue. We cannot afford not to act,” Sarah Fangman, the sanctuary superintendent. “These systems are in a state that without our active help, they cannot recover fast enough.”

The National Oceanic and Atmos...

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Reviving Egypt’s Marine Life With 3D Printed Coral Reefs

3D Coral Reef from Fabri Gate at Exhibition

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN), coral reefs house the world’s most biodiverse ecosystem and directly support more than 500 million people, the majority of whom are in developing countries. Naturally formed out of thin layers of calcium carbonate (limestone), coral reefs have sustained great damage over the past decades due to the effects of climate change—such as warming waters, ocean acidification, and deoxygenation, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest living thing on Earth, which has lost half of its colorful ecosystem and the life it once sustained to heat stress.

And since they are crucial to life on Earth, the destruction of coral reefs wouldn’t only wreak havoc on marine life and the ecosystems that depend on it, it wou...

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Algae could ‘protect coral reefs from climate change’

A school of fish swims in the Coral Sea

Scientists have discovered a type of algae that could play a key role in protecting coral reefs against climate change. Coral reefs all over the world are being badly damaged as warming oceans gradually suck the life out of them.

But researchers have identified two species of algae which are able to adapt and survive the hotter seawater temperatures caused by global warming and could be used to boost the coral reefs’ defences.

“This is an important step forward in understanding how coral can handle global warming…It is encouraging to see that corals have mechanisms in place to adjust to high seawater temperatures,” said Cecilia D’Angelo, of the University of Southampton.

Changing their chemical make-up

The algae species – known as Cladocopium and Durusinium trenchi – are able to ch...

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