coral tagged posts

Some coral communities are doing better than expected

Climate change presents some detrimental obstacles to fragile coral reefs such as heat-related bleaching, but new research shows that some coral communities are evolving to become more heat tolerant as ocean temperatures rise. A new study investigated the impact of heat stress on the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), and discovered that despite 75 percent of the coral reef being damaged by a heatwave in 2003, a later heatwave in 2010 was far less damaging. 

A 2015-2016 heatwave that was twice as strong as the 2003 example was almost half as damaging, with just 40 percent of coral cover loss. 

“We’re seeing areas that were devoid of corals after 2002-2003 that are now flourishing with most of the original species,” said study lead author Michael Fox, a coral reef ecologist at...

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No northern escape route for Florida’s coral reefs

Warming seas are driving many species of marine life to shift their geographic ranges out of the tropics to higher latitudes where the water is cooler. Florida’s reefs will not be able to make that northward move, however, as they will be caught between intolerably hot tropical waters and increasingly frequent water-cooling cold snaps, according to new findings from Florida Institute of Technology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and several other institutions to be published June 22 in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Populations of the main species of reef-building corals are already in dire condition, to the extent that they are listed under the Endangered Species Act. With no where to go, the corals will decline even more drastically.

Corals are colonies of animals related to sea anemon...

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Coral Restoration And Why You Should Choose Hotels That Support It

If you were lucky enough to take a tropical beach vacation more than 30 years ago, you were likely amazed at the underwater world you could explore with a snorkel and mask. Since then, underwater enthusiasts often find reefs are a disappointment, with bleached, broken, and dead corals more prominent than live colorful ones. 

Coral restoration projects are making a difference. They’re not just for guests of the hotels that sponsor them but make a difference for the entire planet. As you plan a post-pandemic beach vacation, lend the oceans a helping hand by choosing a resort that participates in coral reef restoration programs.

The world’s corals are dying

Due mainly to climate change, but also to problems like over-fishing and even tourists wearing the wrong sunscreen, the wor...

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How to identify heat-stressed corals

Bleached coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas on Feb. 20, 2017.

Researchers have found a novel way to identify heat-stressed corals, which could help scientists pinpoint the coral species that need protection from warming ocean waters linked to climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study.

“This is similar to a blood test to assess human health,” said senior author Debashish Bhattacharya, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We can assess coral health by measuring the metabolites (chemicals created for metabolism) they produce and, ultimately, identify the best interventions to ensure reef health. Coral bleaching from warming waters is an ongoing worldwide ecological disaster...

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A ‘prolific volunteer’ grew 900 native plants to help save coral reefs. She’s 10.

A 10-year-old from Maui converted her backyard into a native plant nursery to help save coral reefs. Abby Rogers, a volunteer with the nonprofit Coral Reef Alliance, has grown over 900 native plants in the past few months to trap sediment at Wahikuli, which runs into the ocean and smothers coral reefs.

Typically, CORAL purchases the plants and hosts volunteer planting days at restoration sites.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, volunteers were needed to grow the plants at home.

“I really wanted to help the environment, but all I could ever think of was using a straw or bringing my own bags to the store,” said Rogers.

“My mom read about the CORAL project in a newspaper article and suggested it to me.”

Rogers is one of 100 volunteers who signed up to grow 25,000 ...

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Dead coral rubble supports a surprising amount of life

Dead coral lying on a tropical beach

Broken fragments of coral reef may look like nothing more than litter on the beach or seafloor, but coral rubble can support more animals than living corals, according to researchers at the University of Queensland.

Study lead author Dr. Kenny Wolfe said that reef rubble habitat, which is often overlooked as desolate, unattractive, and “dead,” is very much alive.

“When people think of coral reefs they often think of larger invertebrates that are easily found, such as sea cucumbers, starfish and giant clams,” said Dr. Wolfe. “But interestingly, dead coral rubble supports more of what we call ‘cryptic’ animals than live coral.”

“Cryptic animals are simply hidden creatures, that include tiny crabs, fishes, snails and worms – all of which hide in the nooks and crannie...

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Sexual reproduction of corals in captivity achieved for the first time in Mexico

Scientists at the Regional Aquaculture and Fisheries Research Center in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo managed, for the first time in Mexico, to reproduce corals sexually in controlled environments and in an assisted manner, a historic achievement that gives hope for coral reef repopulation in the Mexican Caribbean.

Scientists at the Regional Aquaculture and Fisheries Research Center in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo managed, for the first time in Mexico, to reproduce corals sexually in controlled environments and in an assisted manner, a historic achievement that gives hope for coral reef repopulation in the Mexican Caribbean.

The team led by Dr. Claudia Padilla, from Inapesca, has been working on coral reproduction for 10 years, but this is the first time that they have spawned these organisms in a controlled pond, which simulates sea conditions in temperature, light, waves, and current.

What is coral?
Coral reproduction is a complex process, for which it is necessary to first understand what a coral is.

These are colonial animals made up of a calcium carbonate base (skeleton) that covers a layer of l...

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Coral bleaching: Scientists ‘find way to make coral more heat-resistant’

Coral bleaching caused by climate change

Scientists in Australia say they have found a way to help coral reefs fight the devastating effects of bleaching by making them more heat-resistant. Rising sea temperatures make corals expel tiny algae which live inside them. This turns the corals white and effectively starves them.

In response, researchers have developed a lab-grown strain of microalgae which is more tolerant to heat.

When injected back into the coral, the algae can handle warmer water better.

The researchers believe their findings may help in the effort to restore coral reefs, which they say are “suffering mass mortalities from marine heatwaves”.

The team made the coral – which is a type of animal, a marine invertebrate – more tolerant to temperature-induced bleaching by bolstering the heat tolerance of its microalgal s...

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UNEP launches campaign on coral loss due to climate change

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

An interview with Richard Vevers, Chief Executive Officer of The Ocean Agency

In partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, the Ocean Agency has launched Glowing Glowing Gone, a creative awareness campaign that draws attention to coral fluorescence due to climate change.

Coral fluorescence, or “glowing” coral, is a last line of defense before coral dies and bleaches. The Ocean Agency worked with Pantone and Adobe to turn the warning colours of glowing coral into three official Pantone colours, to inspire action that everyone can use.

Through Glowing Glowing Gone, The Ocean Agency hopes to garner public support to inspire policy and funding to conserve coral reefs and save an ecosystem on which our entire planet depends.

Richard Vevers, Chief Executive Officer of The Oce...

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Palau is first country to ban ‘reef toxic’ sun cream

The Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life. From Wednesday, sun cream that includes common ingredients, including oxybenzone, is not allowed to be worn or sold in the country. Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau said: “We have to live and respect the environment because the environment is the nest of life.”

The island nation markets itself as a “pristine paradise” for divers.

A lagoon in Palau’s Rock Islands is a Unesco World Heritage site. The country has a population of around 20,000 dotted across hundreds of islands.

The ban – which was announced in 2018 – prohibits sun cream containing any of 10 ingredients. The list includes oxybenzone and octinoxate, which absorb ultraviolet light.

The International Coral Reef Fou...

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