Sep 052013
 

6111788374_1285c2919a_m

Shocks caused by climate and seasonal change could be used to aid recovery of some of the world’s badly-degraded coral reefs, an international team of scientists has proposed.

A new report by Australian and Swedish marine scientists in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environmentsuggests that it may be possible to restore living coral cover to a badly-degraded reef system – though not easy.

With 70 per cent or more of the world’s coral reefs now assessed as degraded, adopting a business-as-usual approach to how we use and manage reefs is no longer an option, says lead author of the report Nick Graham.

“We are unlikely to be able to keep many of the world’s reefs in a pristine state, but with good management we may be able to maintain them in a coral-dominated condition and in some cases we may be able to bring back reefs from a degraded state,” he explains.

The researchers have taken heart from examples on land in desertified landscapes; exceptional falls of rain, in combination with controls on grazing pressure, can result in widespread regrowth of natural vegetation.

They argue that coral reef managers may be able to take advantage of shocks like tropical storms, periods of cloudy weather or even strong seasonal effects on abundance to restore coral cover on degraded reefs.

“Normally we think of these shocks as damaging to coral reefs – but research suggests they are just as damaging to the organisms that can replace coral. In other words, they may act as a circuit-breaker that allows corals to regain control of a reef.”

The key to the new thinking is resilience: healthy corals reefs are naturally resilient to shocks – but damaged ones may become overgrown with sea weeds, and the corals vanish.

“Weed-dominated systems are pretty resilient too and, once established, it is very hard to restore the corals,” Dr Graham explains.

Macroalgae dominated

“However a weed-dominated reef can be damaged by big storms too. Cloudy weather and seasonal changes in water temperature can also cause the weeds to die back.

“This dieback of weeds opens a window through which corals can re-establish.”

The key to bringing back corals is exactly the same as preventing coral cover being lost in the first place, Dr Graham says – reducing human impacts through regulation of fisheries and water quality. If reefs are prepared in this way, they may bounce back when a window for recovery opens.

Read more . . .

 

The Latest on: Coral reefs
  • Mysterious Epidemic Plagues South Florida's Coral Reefs
    on December 14, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    "The reef is in a state of emergency," said Jennifer Stein, South Florida marine conservation coordinator for The Nature Conservancy A mysterious epidemic continues to sweep South Florida's reefs, transforming corals into lifeless skeletons and threatening ... […]

  • It’s official: 2016’s Great Barrier Reef bleaching was unlike anything that went before
    on December 13, 2017 at 11:08 am

    In early 2016, we heard that the reef had suffered the worst bleaching ever recorded. Surveys published in June that year estimated that 93% of coral on the vast northern section of the reef was bleached, and 22% had already been killed. Further reports ... […]

  • Coral reef problems linked to bioerosion, wastewater wells
    on December 12, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Several local news outlets recently reported on a scientific publication titled “Vulnerability of Coral Reefs to Bioerosion From Land-Based Sources of Pollution.” Bioerosion describes the erosion (gradual destruction or disintegration) of hard ocean ... […]

  • Coral conservation efforts make waves in Kenya
    on December 12, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Residents along Kenya's coastal shoreline are replanting coral reefs and mangroves as communities become aware of the new benefits of protecting marine life. Elly Park reports. Residents along Kenya's coastal shoreline are replanting coral reefs and ... […]

  • Coral reefs: Tomorrow's renewable power stations?
    on December 12, 2017 at 5:17 am

    TOKYO -- Japan and other maritime countries may not have to look far for their affordable, stable alternative energy source of the future. It might be lapping at their shores. A professor in Okinawa hopes he has found the answer in the waves that break ... […]

  • Coral reef recovery, bioerosion and wastewater injection wells
    on December 12, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Recently, a scientific publication titled, “Vulnerability of Coral Reefs to Bioerosion From Land-Based Sources of Pollution,” was reported on by several local news outlets. Bioerosion describes the erosion (gradual destruction or disintegration) of ... […]

  • Where reefs are restaurants, challenge is keeping them stocked
    on December 11, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Hawaii’s coral reefs are more than just a picturesque tourist destination — for local communities, they’re a critical source of food. The challenge? Ensuring that they continue to remain so. In a scientific paper published earlier this week in the ... […]

  • Like Nothing Else in the Carribean: A Rare Look at Cuba’s Coral Reefs
    on December 11, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Cuba is home to some of the Caribbean’s most pristine coral reefs, in part because of the lack of tourism. As President Obama began normalizing relations with Cuba, Amy Apprill began working with Cuban scientists to study their reefs. Now, for the first ... […]

  • How Coral Reefs and Carbon Dioxide Can Change the Future
    on December 10, 2017 at 4:00 am

    Most people think of carbon dioxide as a poison, but in nature it’s a building block. Find out how we can imitate coral reef by using CO2 as a raw material for the creation of concrete. […]

  • Mysterious ‘white plague’ threatens South Florida coral reefs
    on December 9, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    MIAMI — A mysterious epidemic continues to sweep South Florida’s reefs, transforming corals into lifeless skeletons and threatening undersea structures that support tourism, provide hurricane protection and serve as homes to a vast range of marine life. […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: