Tag Archives: coral reefs

You can hear the coral reefs dying

You can hear the sound of former bustling coral reefs dying due to the impact of human activity, according to new research from the Universities of Exeter and Essex.

Coral reefs are amongst the noisiest environments on our planet and healthy reefs can be heard using underwater microphones from kilometres away. (more…)

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Corals and climate

For corals adjusting to climate change, it’s survival of fattest and most flexible

The future health of the world’s coral reefs and the animals that depend on them relies in part on the ability of one tiny symbiotic sea creature to get fat — and to be flexible about the type of algae with which it cooperates. (more…)

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Coral Reefs in Palau Surprisingly Resistant to Naturally Acidified Waters

Ocean researchers working on the coral reefs of Palau in 2011 and 2012 made two unexpected discoveries that could provide insight into corals’ resistance and resilience to ocean acidification, and aid in the creation of a plan to protect them.

The team collected water samples at nine points along a transect that stretched from the open ocean, across the barrier reef, into the lagoon and then into the bays and inlets around the Rock Islands of Palau, in the western Pacific Ocean. With each location they found that the seawater became increasingly acidic as they moved toward land. (more…)

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UCLA life scientists present new insights on climate change and species interactions

UCLA life scientists provide important new details on how climate change will affect interactions between species in research published online May 21 in the Journal of Animal Ecology. This knowledge, they say, is critical to making accurate predictions and informing policymakers of how species are likely to be impacted by rising temperatures. 

“There is a growing recognition among biologists that climate change is affecting how species interact with one another, and that this is going to have very important consequences for the stability and functioning of ecosystems,” said the senior author of the research, Van Savage, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and of biomathematics at UCLA. “However, there is still a very limited understanding of exactly what these changes will be. Our paper makes progress on this very important question.”  (more…)

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Coral reefs’ collapse isn’t inevitable, researchers say

Coral reefs are in decline, but their collapse can still be avoided with local and global action.

That’s according to findings reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 9th based on an analysis that combines the latest science on reef dynamics with the latest climate models.

“People benefit by reefs having a complex structure – a little like a Manhattan skyline but underwater,” said Peter Mumby of The University of Queensland and University of Exeter. “Structurally-complex reefs provide nooks and crannies for thousands of species and provide the habitat needed to sustain productive reef fisheries. They’re also great fun to visit as a snorkeler or diver. If we carry on the way we have been, the ability of reefs to provide benefits to people will seriously decline.” (more…)

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Sea Turtles Benefiting From Protected Areas

Study Offers First Look at Green Sea Turtle Habitat Use in the Dry Tortugas

DRY TORTUGAS, Fla. – Nesting green sea turtles are benefiting from marine protected areas by using habitats found within their boundaries, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study that is the first to track the federally protected turtles in Dry Tortugas National Park.

Green turtles are listed as endangered in Florida and threatened throughout the rest of their range, and the habits of green sea turtles after their forays to nest on beaches in the Southeast U.S. have long remained a mystery. Until now, it was not clear whether the turtles made use of existing protected areas, and few details were available as to whether they were suited for supporting the green sea turtle’s survival. (more…)

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Lionfish Invasion

Invasive species among marine science subjects in Cayman Islands study abroad program

With a spiky fringe of venomous barbs and bold brown-and-white stripes, the exotic lionfish invaded Florida waters several decades ago and expanded its range widely from the Caribbean to New York. Native to the Indo-Pacific, the invasive species has no natural predators in this part of the world and readily feasts on small fish and shrimp.

UD students have the opportunity to observe these intruders — up-close and underwater — in a new study abroad program offered in the Cayman Islands through the School of Marine Science and Policy (SMSP). (more…)

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Heather Leslie: Measuring ocean health

Sustainable management of a huge, complex and valuable resource such as the ocean requires a comprehensive metric that did not exist until now. In the Aug. 16 edition of Nature a broad group of scientists including Heather Leslie, the Sharpe Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, describes the Ocean Health Index. The index rates coastal places, from regions to nations, on 10 goals: artisanal fishing opportunity, biodiversity, carbon storage, clean waters, coastal livelihoods and economies, coastal protection, food provision, natural products, sense of place, and tourism and recreation. Leslie recently answered questions posed by David Orenstein.

How does the Ocean Health Index’s focus on integrating human factors make it different and valuable?

Recognizing people’s integral roles in ocean ecosystems, this index evaluates how well the ocean provides 10 key benefits to people and how well we are protecting its ability to do so in the future. (more…)

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