coral reef tagged posts

Divers cut, plant coral off UAE coast to build reef

Coral growing after being transplanted

Off the east coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) coral freshly removed from a reef is cut into pieces and replanted by a group of divers in the waters below. The divers, from the Fujairah Adventure Centre, are building artificial reefs they hope will spur a resurgence in sea life degraded over the years by climate change and development.

The small team and other volunteers have planted more than 9,000 corals over about 600 square metres in the past year. Within five years, they hope to cover 300,000 square metres with 1.5 million corals.

“It’s a fertile environment for coral reefs, and this diversity has started spreading and has helped bring back sea life,” diver Saeed al-Maamari told Reuters.

Reefs, developing over thousands of years, are crucial to the survival of many ma...

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Scientists are trying to save coral reefs. Here’s what’s working.

The coral reefs around Fiji cover 3,800 square miles and face threats from climate change, overfishing, and pollution.

The world’s coral reefs do more for the planet than provide underwater beauty. They buffer shorelines from the effects of hurricanes. An estimated 500 million people earn their livelihoods from the fishing stocks and tourism opportunities reefs provide. The tiny animals that give rise to reefs are even offering hope for new drugs to treat cancer and other diseases.

Despite their importance, warming waters, pollution, ocean acidification, overfishing, and physical destruction are killing coral reefs around the world. Schemes to save those reefs are as creative as they are varied; most recently, scientists released data showing that marine protected areas can help save reefs if they are placed in just the right spots...

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Glowing reefs are striving to recover from bleaching

As oceans warm due to climate change, some coral reefs have been devastated in recent years by bleaching events that cause them to die and damage the biodiversity that depends on them. Multiple studies are underway to understand more about these bleaching events and if corals can bounce back. While bleaching is associated with the stark white skeletal remains of corals after they have lost their live tissue, an opposite effect can also take place when such an event occurs.

It’s known as colorful bleaching, where corals seem to amp up their pigments and provide brilliant displays of neon color.

Colorful bleaching has been observed since 2010 in coral reefs aroundthe globe, but the mechanism and reasoning behind it hasn’t been understood...

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Healthy coral reefs need fish mix to survive

A coral reef in the Similan Islands

A new study from The University of Western Australia has revealed clear evidence highlighting the importance of fish biodiversity to the health of tropical coral reef ecosystems. This is the case for reefs that are pristine and also those that have been affected by stresses, such as bleaching events caused by warming oceans.

However, the study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, showed that even though strong relationships between diversity and a healthy ecosystem persist, human-driven pressures of warming oceans and invasive species still diminish ecosystems in various ways.

A team of researchers from UWA and Lancaster University in the United Kingdom conducted surveys on coral reefs around 10 islands in the remote Chagos Archipelago – the largest uninhabited and unfished coral re...

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Lab-evolved algae could protect coral reefs

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

For the third time in 5 years, an underwater heat wave has turned vast stretches of coral on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef ghostly white, a desperate survival strategy that is often a prelude to coral death. Now, scientists there have taken a small step toward helping coral survive in a warmer world. For the first time, researchers have grown algae in a lab that can reduce coral bleaching, as it’s known. The results are a notable advance in the growing field of “assisted evolution,” in which scientists are working to alter coral genetics to help them endure hotter water.

It’s a “groundbreaking” study, says Steve Palumbi, an evolutionary biologist at Stanford University who was not involved with the work...

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Severe coral loss leaves reefs with larger fish, but at a cost

A Scarus globiceps scraping algae off a reef. Credit: Victor Huertas.

New research on the Great Barrier Reef associates severe coral loss with substantial increases in the size of large, long-living herbivorous fish. However, the ecosystem is also left vulnerable to crashing.

In research published in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology, an international team of researchers compared reef surveys from 2003-2004 and 2018. They found severe coral loss—up to 83% in some areas—was associated with increases in fish biomass, productivity and consumed biomass. This means the reef currently has more energy stored in the form of fish weight, is able produce more fish weight, and these fish are being consumed by predators.

Lead author Renato Morais, a PhD candidate from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook Universit...

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Reefs are being transformed by climate change – undoing decades of knowledge on how to protect them

Bleached coral

Coral reefs are so fundamentally damaged by climate change that decades of research on how to protect them may not even still be applicable, scientists say.  In a study of coral over 20 years, UK scientists found that a warming climate undoes decades of knowledge on coral in protected areas, known as marine reserves.  These delicate and vital ecosystems have been used as a guide to rejuvenate biodiversity in other disrupted regions.

However, tropical coral reef marine reserves can offer little defence in the face of climate change impacts, meaning conservationists may have to ‘rethink their role’.

The team is calling for urgent reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and poor land practices that leak pollutants into coastal waters, to protect coral reefs.

‘Climate change is so f...

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Can coral reefs ‘have it all’?

Though coral reefs are in sharp decline across the world, scientists say some reefs can still thrive with plentiful fish stocks, high fish biodiversity, and well-preserved ecosystem functions. An international team, led by Professor Josh Cinner from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Coral CoE at JCU), assessed around 1,800 tropical reefs from 41 countries across the globe.

“Only five percent of the reefs were simultaneously able to meet the combined goals of providing enough fishing stocks, maintaining biodiversity and a working ecosystem,” Prof Cinner said.

“These are like the Hollywood A-listers of . They have it all, but they’re also rare and live in exclusive areas— with little human pressure...

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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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