coral reefs tagged posts

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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Hurricane Harvey Runoff Threatens Mexico Reefs

The Gulf of Mexico

As if the devastation in Texas wasn’t enough, Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath has also brought a real threat to the Gulf of Mexico. A massive freshwater plume has poured runoff into the Gulf, temporarily altering the surrounding water’s salinity – and threatening coral reefs.

Harvey dumped some 20 trillion gallons of rain on the Lone Star State, and that record rainfall had to go somewhere. That somewhere is the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists estimate an incredible 13 trillion gallons entered the Gulf in the days immediately following the storm.

The possible negative effects of that much freshwater entering the saltwater ecosystem became apparent on September 28...

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Coral reef economy is bigger than you think

Video of Coral reef economy

Did you know coral reefs pump more than $3.4 billion into the U.S. economy each year? And that’s a conservative estimate! Healthy coral reef ecosystems do everything from supporting millions of jobs to protecting lives and coastal infrastructure. Despite all they do for us, our coral reef ecosystems are threatened. Climate change, pollution from the land, and harmful fishing practices top the list of threats. Fortunately, it’s not too late to protect these resources. Watch our fast-draw video to learn more.

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