corals tagged posts

Australia aims to be Noah’s ark for corals 

An amazing project is unfolding in the remote Queensland town of Port Douglas which showcases the best science has to offer our society. They’re building a new ark for coral. And there isn’t a moment to lose. Great Barrier Reef Legacy, headquartered in Port Douglas, is working with Traditional Owners, industry and corporate partners, scientific collaborators, government organizations, and tourism operators to establish the world’s first Living Coral Biobank.

Like the mythical Noah’s ark, this project aims to conserve the genetic diversity of hard coral species and catalogue, collect, and store living fragments, tissue, and genetic samples from 400 coral species on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and 400 coral species from all over the world.

Found worldwide, coral reefs are kn...

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New Canada Refuge Protects Deep-Water Corals

On World Oceans Day, June 8, the Government of Canada announced the establishment of the Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge, an area of 43,976 square kilometres (about 17,000 square miles) off the coast of Nova Scotia. This region, which stretches out to Canada’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), includes both deep-sea canyons and abyssal plain, and will now be protected from bottom-contact fishing—including trawling, traps, and longlines—under Canada’s Fisheries Act. The act safeguards the nation’s fish and fish habitats and is an example of how tools other than marine protected areas (MPAs) can be used to conserve marine habitat. 


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Scientists create guidelines to help conserve Caribbean coral reefs

At a critical time for economies and the ocean, The Nature Conservancy, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and the United Nations Environment Programme joined forces to create, for the first time in the Caribbean, a guide to coral reef restoration designed specifically for the tourism sector. 

Healthy coral reefs are essential for the Caribbean tourism industry, which drives local economies and supports hundreds of thousands of livelihoods throughout the region. A Guide to Coral Reef Restoration for the Tourism Sector presents coral restoration best practices backed by scientific research, practitioner experience and stakeholder input...

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Half a trillion corals in Pacific Ocean

Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Coral CoE at JCU) have assessed how many corals there are in the Pacific Ocean. In a world-first coral count, the team have estimated that there are roughly half a trillion corals in the Pacific Ocean alone – approximately the same number of trees in the Amazon, or birds in the world.

Until now, scientists didn’t know how many individual coral colonies there are in the world, and these findings have prompted them to reevaluate the risks of extinction.

“We need to know the abundance of a species to assess its risk of extinction,” said Dr Andreas Dietzel of Coral CoE at JCU. “However, there is very little data on most of Earth’s wild animal and plant species – not just corals...

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These Corals Are Literally Glowing To Survive

Tropical corals are famous for their captivating colors thanks to microscopic algae inhabitants. Glowing, on the other hand, is not standard fare for tropical reefs. A 2017 documentary Chasing Coral stumbled upon glowing coral reefs by accident.

The documentary follows a team of researchers and underwater photographers intent on getting footage of coral bleaching – when corals turn bright white due to stress. An underwater heatwave was expected at New Caledonia and Australia’s Lizard Island, with coral bleaching likely to follow. 

The Chasing Coral team installed high-tech cameras on the ocean floor in the hopes of capturing the event. When the cameras failed, the team opted to manually photograph the reefs daily.

Instead of capturing the corals bleaching, however, the team...

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Stony Corals ‘Preparing for a Mass Extinction’

Signs of stony coral tissue loss disease on symmetrical brain coral (Pseudodiploria strigosa)

Stony corals provide habitat for an eye-popping one-fourth of the ocean’s species. They serve as the centerpiece of a rich and diverse ecosystem, which is why their recent behavior has scientists concerned. New research shows that stony corals around the world are hunkering down into survival mode as they prepare for a mass extinction event, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.

The international research team was composed of scientists from New York, California, Israel, England and Germany. They noticed a suite of behaviors that correspond to a survival response commensurate with how they behaved during the last mass extinction 66 million years ago, according to the new study.

“When we finally put all this together and saw the result, for me it was that moment when th...

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‘Super Corals’ Could Survive Warming Oceans

Turtle in coral reef

Ruth Gates, Director of the Hawai’i Institute of Biology, is working on breeding “super corals” that can withstand the climate change that oceans are already experiencing. Another group, in Australia, is creating “mutt” corals from different robust species to achieve the same result. What’s unique about these approaches to coral preservation is that it’s like the land-based genetic tinkering that’s been done for millennia with livestock and crops.

“We’ve never taken a proactive and interventional approach” to saving corals, Gates told Discovery News at the University of Hawai’i’s Coconut Island research facility on O’ahu.

Land-based agricultural breeding methods “have never been used in the oceans,” she said.

But the method Gates uses is a bit different...

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WA corals stunted by marine heat wave

Growth Measurement of coral

WA’s most renowned coral reefs, including Ningaloo Reef, are not as protected as scientists previously thought, with new research revealing warmer water temperatures have reduced coral growth and survival rates. This reduced growth means Western Australian corals may become more vulnerable, since the South West coast is a ‘hot spot’ for ocean warming, with temperatures rising faster than other parts of the Indian Ocean.

UWA PhD student Taryn Foster investigated the growth of three coral species— Acropora pulchraPocillopora damicornis and Goniastrea aspera —at Ningaloo Reef in the north, the Houtman Abrolhos Islands in the Mid West and Marmion Reef in the south near Perth.

Ms Foster measured coral growth from 2011–2013, a time when water temperatures were unusually high.


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