reefs tagged posts

The complexities of mapping Pacific and Asian reefs

Des and Kelvin of Gladstone, Katy and Filimone of Fiji and Victor and Christina of Palau all have the same issue – reefs under their care face unprecedented threats. Reefs that have protected shores and supported local fisheries for thousands of years.  Fisheries sustained through customary management rooted in traditional ecological knowledge accumulated over millennia, reflecting local peoples’ deep understanding of their ecosystems. 

They are not alone – the Pacific is home to 27% of the world’s coral reefs and her island nations are particularly reliant on healthy oceans for food, income and coastal protection, says Dr Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero, Australian Institute of Marine Science.  

New understandings and tools are needed to manage reef-bound islands and coastlines faci...

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Climate Change Increases Fish Food Fights

According to a new study, climate change is changing the behaviors of the marine fishes living in coral reefs. This study found that as climate causes bleaching, this affects coral reef butterflyfishes (genus Chaetodon), which eat coral. Hangry butterflyfishes make poorer fight-or-flight decisions that lead to unnecessary fights, so they expend precious limited energy, and this could potentially threaten their very survival due to an increased risk of starvation.

This study was something of an accident. An international team of researchers, led by marine macroecologist Sally Keith, a senior lecturer at Lancaster University, were working on an ongoing study of 38 species of butterflyfishes living on 17 Indo-Pacific reefs off Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Christmas Island.


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Only 1.4 Percent of Japan’s Largest Coral Reef Is Healthy

Japan's bleaching reefs

Reefs all over the planet are facing a very bleak future. Rapidly warming ocean and acidic water are killing them all over the planet. Bleaching event after bleaching event is ruining some of the most important of earth’s natural features. No, it’s not just the Australia or Hawaii, although those are probably the ones you’ve heard about. It’s many other reef systems, all of which are home to a massive variety of life. The most recent depressing reef news comes out of Japan, where studies have found that 99 percent of Japan’s largest reef is on the verge of collapse.

According to a government survey in Sekisei Lagoon in southwestern Japan, the reef, which measures 12 miles long by 10 miles wide, is basically dead...

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Could artificial reef protect biodiversity against climate change?

Coralline algae

Climate change from rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) is having two major effects in our seas – global warming and ocean acidification – and the combination of these threats is affecting marine life from single organisms to species communities. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth are helping to build an artificial reef that could protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea against climate change.

The reef is made of small plastic structures that mimic natural coralline algae (algae with calcium carbonate structures), which have a similar ecological function to corals. Coralline algae form reefs that are able to host different species to create highly diverse and complex environments.

Due to their calcium carbonate structures, coralline algae are extreme...

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Nursing reefs back to life

Coral regrowth

Coral reefs provide a home to fish and protect coasts from eroding. But, they are threatened, and have suffered from ocean warming. In the Seychelles, a project is underway to transplant healthy coral onto dying reefs.

It’s early afternoon as the divers resurface. One by one, members of the team climb on board the boat that has been anchoring off the coast of the small Seychelles island of Cousin in the Indian Ocean. They start shivering in the heavy winds shaking the boat, and look exhausted. The’ve just finished their second dive of the day; each was one-and-a-half hours long.

They’ve been busy underwater, cleaning the ropes and nets of what they refer to as their “coral nursery” – a set of ropes and nets hanging from pipes, which are in turn fixed on the ground...

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Major changes needed for coral reef survival

Colourful coral reef

To prevent coral reefs around the world from dying off, deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions are required, says a new study from Carnegie’s Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira. They find that all existing coral reefs will be engulfed in inhospitable ocean chemistry conditions by the end of the century if civilization continues along its current emissions trajectory. Their work will be published July 3 by Environmental Research Letters.

Coral reefs are havens for marine biodiversity and underpin the economies of many coastal communities. But they are very sensitive to changes in ocean chemistry resulting from greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to coastal pollution, warming waters, overdevelopment, and overfishing.

Ricke and Caldeira, along with colleagues from Institut Pierre Simon Laplace...

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