coral reefs tagged posts

Groundwater Runoff Changing Metabolism of Coral Reef Ecosystems

Maunalua Bay in Hawaii, where CSUN marine biologist Nyssa Silbiger and her colleagues found that submarine groundwater discharge is changing the metabolism of coral reefs ecosystems. Photo by Doug Harper.

Submarine groundwater discharge — the flow of fresh water from land through the coastal seafloor into the ocean — is changing the metabolism of coral reef ecosystems, according to California State University, Northridge marine biologist Nyssa Silbiger, which can affect coastal economies around the world.

The findings by Silbiger and her fellow researchers, Megan Donahue with the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and Katie Lubarsky with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, have implications for understanding human impacts on marine ecosystems, as well as informing the decisions of policy makers as they consider coastal development or anticipate the impacts of sea-level rise.

“If we can understand how actions and decisions made miles away from the ocean affect marine ecosyste...

Read More

Is Key Gene System Discovery Suffocating Corals’ Last Gasp?

A unique stress experiment aligned deoxygenation stress to the natural night-day cycle of common reef-building corals from The Great Barrier Reef. Credit: Morgan Bennett-Smith

Ocean deoxygenation is now being recognized as major threat to future global coral reef survival.

Oxygen is life, in or out of the water, raising concerns that declining ocean oxygen stores are adding an additional environmental stress to already highly vulnerable coral reef ecosystems. While the twin effects of ocean warming and acidification are well studied, until now there has been limited understanding of how the growing threat of ocean deoxygenation may impact the ability of corals to function and ultimately form reefs.

A unique deoxygenation-reoxygenation stress experiment has given researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), University of Konstanz and University of Copenhagen insight into how corals manage deoxygenation stress and the key genes that likely dr...

Read More

12 things you can do to help save coral reefs

Coral reefs are under threat

Coral around the world has been dying at unprecedented rates, largely the result of warming ocean waters due to climate change. Now, the International Coral Reef Society’s scientists have published what they call the “Pledge for Coral Reefs,” a list of 12 actions everyone can take to help protect coral and coral reefs.

“This is an educational tool to remind people that, ‘Wow, when I purchase products with single-use plastic, that affects coral reefs. When I don’t eat sustainably, that affects coral reefs. If I don’t vote, that affects coral reefs. So many environmental and climate change related issues impact coral reefs,” said Andréa Grottoli, professor of earth sciences at The Ohio State University and president of the International Coral Reef Society.

“Each of th...

Read More

Dying coral reefs are being saved by automation

Coral bleaching occurs when water is too warm, causing corals to expel the algae living in their tissues and turn completely white -- often killing the cora

On a 24-hour boat trip off the coast of Western Australia, Dr. Taryn Foster was seeking out a coral reef treasure known as Scott Reef. It was a familiar place for her, as the research associate at the California Academy of Sciences had gone on dives and conducted coral surveys there as part of her postdoctoral work studying coral.

“There’s no tourists out there,” Foster said. “It’s as untouched as you can get these days.”

But Foster found the condition of Scott Reef had changed wildly from years past. She was about to dive into the coral reefs during the worlds’ 2016 mass bleaching event — one of the longest and most severe coral bleaching events on record.

“In a way, it’s actually quite beautiful...

Read More

British family moving to Africa’s smallest island to save its coral reefs

A British family is leaving their comfortable life in London in order to pursue something more. The Seath family, including Karolina, Barry and their two children, are about to move to an island you probably never heard of in a bid to help replenish and revitalize the area’s coral reef, which have been ravaged by the rising sea temperatures off the coast of Africa’s smallest island.

The island in the Seychelles, measuring just 400 metres long by 300 metres wide, will play host to the family’s land-based coral farm, which will only be the second of its kind in the entire world — the other being on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

“We are just a normal husband, wife, and two kids, living the sort of life that most others do… but we felt the need to make a positive change for oursel...

Read More

Protect Red Sea’s Coral Reefs, Scientists Urge

Red Sea Coral Reef with abundant fish

UNESCO should declare the Red Sea’s 4000km of coral reef a Marine World Heritage Site and take additional measures critical for the reef’s survival, urges an international group of researchers led by Karine Kleinhaus, MD, of Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS).

Their article, “Science, Diplomacy, and the Red Sea’s Unique Coral Reef: It’s Time for Action,” appears in Frontiers in Marine Science. Kleinhaus and co-authors argue that while rapid ocean warming due to climate change is predicted to decimate 70 to 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs by mid-century, the coral reef ecosystem in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba is strikingly resilient to rising sea temperatures.

Corals in the Gulf of Aqaba, at the northernmost portion of the Red Sea, wi...

Read More

Help with coral replanting around the globe

In Moorea, French Polynesia, the nonprofit group Coral Gardeners tends broken pieces of coral on a nursery table

Beautiful and fragile, coral reefs in tropical oceans worldwide are threatened by climate change, storms, and bleaching. Now travelers can help restore them by supporting coral replanting programs.

National Geographic Explorer Paola Rodríguez-Troncoso has worked on a Mexican program that sustainably replanted more than 6,000 coral fragments over six years. In this project, divers collect fragments from the ocean floor that have been knocked off reefs by storms or waves. Then they tether healthy pieces to the substrata of reefs at the same or nearby sites. It’s a process that can vary by location. For example, in some areas where reefs border lagoons, such as French Polynesia, the coral fragments are placed in underwater nurseries to recuperate before replanting.

Resorts and conservat...

Read More

Coral reefs ‘moving towards the Poles to escape Climate Change’

coral reef

Reef corals in equatorial regions are going to start moving toward the poles as climate change takes hold, scientists have said. By analyzing the ranges of reefs from the fossil record, researchers are able to build a picture of how these systems respond to climate change—and then project how they might respond under future global warming.

Findings show that, under two climate change scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reefs are likely to expand their poleward range—in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres—and decline in the regions they currently occupy. This will mean a fundamental change to the locations of reef corals in the future.

The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, examines the fossil record for ho...

Read More

Seychelles reefs face climate change threat

A box of nursery-grown coral is handed to diver

Beneath the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean island nation of the Seychelles, a fight is growing to save the coral reefs that shelter a range of creatures, from tiny invertebrates to the sprawling octopus, from climate change.

The fragile reefs act both as a protective barrier for coastlines and an attraction for the tourists who keep the country’s economy going. But the reefs are also one of the first victims of rising ocean temperatures.

The Seychelles in some areas lost up to 90 percent of its coral reefs in 1998 in an environmental event known as bleaching, where coral in warming waters expel the colorful algae that live within their skeletons and, without their nutrients, starve...

Read More

Plastic makes coral reefs ‘sick’

Coral made sick by plastic

When coral reefs come in contact with plastic trash in the ocean, their risk of becoming diseased skyrockets, said an international study. Researchers examined 1,20,000 corals on 159 reefs from Indonesia, Australia, Myanmar and Thailand for the study in journal science we found the chance of disease increased from 4% to 89% when corals were in contact with plastic.

Scientists are still trying to figure out why plastics are so dangerous for coral, which cover about 0.2% of ocean floor but provide habitat for million species of young fish.

Read More