coral reef tagged posts

Coral reef health can be measured through sound

Coral reefs have complex soundscapes – created by fish and other creatures living there – which can be used by scientists to measure coral health. However, traditional acoustic surveys of reefs rely on labor-intensive methods which face significant difficulties in assessing reef health through the use of individual recordings. Now, a research team led by the University of Exeter has trained a computer algorithm using multiple recordings of both healthy and degraded reefs, allowing the machine to learn the difference. When fed new data, this algorithm was able to successfully identify reef health 92 percent of the time.    

“Coral reefs are facing multiple threats including climate change, so monitoring their health and the success of conservation projects is vital,” said stu...

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“Coral Extinction is Possible by the End of the 21st Century”

Coral reefs are complex, large underwater ecosystems that support marine life both as a form of food and shelter for fish. Over the years, the climate crisis has marked an end date for these vibrant marine structures, based on a new study in the Caribbean where marine ecologists warn that coral extinction is imminent if global temperatures continue to rise.

The new study followed recent research regarding the increasing risk brought by ocean warming to coral reef systems, placing them in the state of coral bleaching and eventual death.

Previous scientific papers have also revealed a drastic coral population decline across the globe, including in the Great Barrier Reef.

In addition to natural hazards, human-related activities such as overfishing and the use of explosive devices in...

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Climate resilient microalgae could help restore coral reefs

Coral species exhibit different temperature tolerances. This is in part due to the composition of their microalgae symbionts. With a new method, researchers from Uppsala University were able to predict how individual microalgae might behave under future temperature stress and identify more tolerant coral symbionts. In combination with forthcoming single cell selection and growth experiments, the identification of climate resilient cells provides opportunity to help mitigate the effects of coral bleaching.

Coral reefs provide sustenance and income to an estimated half billion people, attract tourists, protect coastlines and are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on our planet. Despite their importance, more than half of the world’s coral reefs are now under stress, primarily due to cl...

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Scientists map Caribbean coral reefs to tackle climate change

Scientists have mapped coral reefs in the Caribbean to identify those most likely to survive climate change. Corals with the highest potential to escape destruction from marine heat waves are predominantly located along the northern shoreline of Cuba. And other promising sites are clustered around the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, eastern Jamaica, and the US state of Florida.

Coral reefs are wonders of the ocean.

Made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny creatures, they are one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet.

According to a recent IPCC report (top-level UN reports written by scientists), at up to 1.5C of warming, only 10 to 30% of coral reefs are expected to survive. If warming is above that, survival prospects plummet drastically.

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Coral Reefs Dying At Unprecedented Rates

Coral reefs are being hit by climate change in just about every way possible. Wildfire, drought and other land-based climate disasters have captured global headlines, but coral reefs have been bleaching at record levels, and as such their future is uncertain. The science of climate change’s impact on coral reefs is simple. As humans pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, the ocean acts as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide (CO₂) and dissolving it into acid. 

As a result, ocean acidity has increased by about 25 percent since the early 19th century, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That acidity is incredibly harmful to coral reefs...

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Fish Appear to Be Losing Their Color as Coral Reefs Decline, Scientists Warn

Fish communities on Australia’s famed Great Barrier Reef may become less colorful as oceans warm and corals bleach, according to a new Australian study that looked at changes in reef health, coral types, and resident fish over three decades.   

“Future reefs may not be the colorful ecosystems we recognize today,” write marine ecologist Chris Hemingson and his James Cook University colleagues in their paper, published in Global Change Biology.

“Our findings suggest that reefs may be at a critical transition point and might be poised to become much less colorful in the coming years.”

The study, which comes weeks after the Great Barrier Reef was struck by another widespread bleaching event fueled by rising carbon emissions, focused on reefs surrounding Orpheus Island, which is ...

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UN: Climate Disruption, Biodiversity, Pollution

“The planet is facing a triple crisis — climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution,” the United Nations Secretary-General said, adding that “we need the international community to intensify efforts to protect the ocean.”

Speaking at the recent One Ocean Summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “The ocean shoulders much of the burden. It serves as a giant carbon and heat sink. As a result, the ocean is growing warmer and more acidic, polar ice is melting and global weather patterns are changing. Ocean ecosystems are suffering. So, too, are the communities who rely on them. More than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. The number of marine species is dropping. Coral reefs are dying.

“Coastal ecosystems have...

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Corals Can’t Escape A 1.5C Rise In Temperature

A new study has revealed that a 1.5°C increase in temperatures will result in virtually every single coral on the planet bleaching, scientists are warning. The research found that only a minuscule 0.2% of reefs would escape at the bleaching events.

The team of researchers from James Cook University, the University of Leeds and Texas Tech University used the latest climate modeling data to demonstrate the catastrophe facing our coral reefs as a result of the earth warming.

The study found that even areas that were perceived to be able to withstand the rising temperature would not be able to, and the corals would enter into bleaching events.

However, things may not be total doom, and there is a ray of hope.

The lead author of the study Adele Dixon, a Ph.D. candidate at the Univ...

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Safe havens for coral reefs will disappear as oceans warm

In 2015 and 2016, record ocean temperatures triggered coral bleaching events around the world — from Hawai‘i to the Caribbean to Australia — turning once-healthy polyps into ghostly skeletons. But some reefs managed to remain intact due to the cooling effects of upwelling and ocean currents. According to a new study, these special coral reefs, called “refugia,” could disappear in the very near future as human-induced climate change continues to heat up the world.

Presently, about 84% of the world’s shallow coral reefs are places of thermal refugia, defined in the paper as places that have 10 years to recover from heat stress. But when the world heats up to 1.5° Celsius (2...

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Future of Coral Reefs in the Time of Climate Change

Coral reefs are one of the world’s most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide abundant ecological goods and services and are central to the socio-economic and cultural welfare of coastal and island communities – throughout tropical and subtropical ocean countries – by contributing billions of dollars to the local and global economies, when combined with tourism and recreation.

Coral reefs also play a vital role in the protection of shorelines, fisheries, biodiversity and unique ecosystems. Building magnificent reefs, tiny coral polyps have developed an incredible ability to calcify and are the most prolific mineralizers on the planet.

They form immense structures like the Great Barrier Reef, which is a world heritage site...

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