UCI biologist among data contributors to large, unprecedented project
When Joleah Lamb strapped on a scuba tank and plunged into the ocean over a decade ago, it was the first of many expeditions to examine the effects of climate change and other human-produced factors on coral.
Now, 13 years after that foray, she has contributed one of the largest amounts of data to a landmark study on how to save coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Lamb, an assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine School of Biological Sciences, is among more than 80 marine researchers worldwide who produced the report. It has been published in Nature Ecology and Evolution (Link to study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0953-8)
The research encompassed over 2,500 reefs across 44 countries. Lamb provided its fourth-largest dataset, containing details on more than a million individual corals. Gathering the information required painstaking visual inspection, with Lamb and colleagues swimming underwater for as much as six hours each day. Armed with special measuring tapes, waterproof paper and pencils, they recorded information on each coral, meticulously identifying the size and health of more than 300 unique species.
Key to this study were observations of bleaching, a visible indication water is too warm. When temperatures rise, corals expel algae they normally depend on for energy. The depletion robs the corals of their color and turns them white. It also eventually starves them.
“There are efforts to use drones or satellites to collect this information, but you cannot get the high resolution needed to assess the vital complex architecture of reefs unless you are in the water,” said Lamb.
The scientists involved in the report say it’s not too late to save reefs if three strategies are immediately enacted in the Indo-Pacific. One is protecting from human impact those that are functioning, representing 17 percent of the reefs studied. Another is helping the 54 percent that are damaged but have the potential to recover. For 28 percent, it may be too late for rescue, which suggests some coastal societies will need to transition away from depending on them.
Lamb says Americans should be concerned about the research results. “There are a lot of reefs in our territories, such as Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam,” she said. “They all face severe impacts from the loss of coral reefs, including on coastal protection, food and income from tourism. And even if you don’t live close to a reef, carbon emissions contribute to climate change that harms corals worldwide.”
Besides university scientists, researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society, other non-profit organizations and governmental agencies participated in the study. The massive project demonstrates the need for collaboration in combatting environmental threats, she said.
“As scientists, we can tend to work in small domains and become microscopic in what we examine,” she added. “We can’t be that way anymore. We must work together on large global solutions that protect our world.”
The Latest on: Saving coral reefs
via Google News
The Latest on: Saving coral reefs
- 'Super survivor' coral brings hope to beleaguered Great Barrier Reefon August 15, 2019 at 9:11 pm
My project aims to find out how they’re doing it, and whether they could help save other reefs.” Loading For a long time Camp’s work was largely general: looking at the impact of global warming on ...
- Save Coral, Drink Beeron August 13, 2019 at 3:46 pm
Florida's coral reefs are in grave danger, but through conservation and awareness efforts, they can be saved. You can help save our coral reefs simply by drinking beer! The Florida Aquarium and ...
- Human impact on oceans doubled during last decadeon August 13, 2019 at 11:21 am
RELATED Largest-of-its-kind coral study offers plan to save the planet's reefs Scientists surveyed dozens of studies to calculate the cumulative effects of human activities on the health of marine ...
- Scientists studied 2,500 coral reefs to figure out how to save themon August 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm
An international group of scientists has surveyed more than 2,500 coral reef systems across 44 countries to determine how to save them in the face of damage caused by climate change and humans, ...
- Largest-of-its-kind coral study offers plan to save the planet's reefson August 12, 2019 at 1:33 pm
Aug. 12 (UPI) --A new survey of coral communities -- the largest of its kind, according to the research team -- has offered a roadmap for protecting Earth's reefs. The international team of scientists ...
- Largest-ever study of coral communities unlocks global solution to save reefson August 12, 2019 at 12:19 pm
The largest study ever conducted of its kind has identified where and how to save coral reef communities in the Indo-Pacific, according to an international group of scientists from WCS (Wildlife ...
- Study examines a million corals one by one in urgent call to save reefson August 12, 2019 at 12:12 pm
Scientists have completed a landmark study on how to save coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. When Joleah Lamb strapped on a scuba tank and plunged into the ocean over a decade ago, it was ...
- Local action needed to help save the 'backbone' of the reefon August 12, 2019 at 8:15 am
"Urgent management efforts for coral reefs... might sustain a network of functioning reefs in the Indo-Pacific to avoid ecosystem collapse.” Despite the hope for the Great Barrier Reef, the scientists ...
- To save our climate, start with our buildingson August 12, 2019 at 2:05 am
That warning gave us only 12 years to get started in order to prevent the first major and permanent consequences: the destruction of the world’s coral reefs and the desolation ... s net-zero carbon ...
- CoralWatch explains how citizen scientists can help save world’s reefson August 9, 2019 at 12:02 am
Setting out on board the MV Inspiration, CoralWatch will showcase Moreton Bay’s coral reefs using drop cameras ... and what actions they can take to save them. CoralWatch manager Diana Kleine said ...
via Bing News