Navigation Links
4,000-year-old coral beds among world's oldest living things, prof says
Date:3/25/2009

COLLEGE STATION, March 24, 2009 Researchers led by a Texas A&M University professor have discovered coral beds off the coast of Hawaii that are more than 4,200 years old, making them among the oldest living creatures on Earth.

The team, directed by Brendan Roark of Texas A&M's College of Geosciences, and colleagues from the University of California-Santa Cruz and Australian National University in Canberra, have had their work published in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The project was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation.

Two different species of coral beds were documented using carbon dating methods, Roark says, with both being much older than previously believed. One species

Leiopathes is now confirmed to be about 4,265 years old, while the other species, Gerardia, is believed to be about 2,742 years old.

The coral beds were discovered in about 1,200 feet of water using submersible vehicles. One of the beds covers several hundred square feet, Roark notes.

"The beds are quite large, but sadly, not in very good shape," Roark explains.

"The color of the coral makes them highly sought-after for making jewelry, and the Gerardia coral especially is a beautiful gold color. There are laws protecting the beds, but much of the harvesting still continues.

"Also, the beds are threatened by local fishermen in the area. You could compare the situation to that of the Amazon rain forest areas, where huge tracts of land are disappearing because of man-made activities. The same is true of these coral beds."

The age of the coral would rank them among the oldest living creatures in continuous existence, Roark adds. Scientists know that some of the bristlecone pine trees in Northern California are also more than 4,000 years old.

It was previously believed that such coral beds were no more than a few hundred years old, he says, "so to find out that they are thousands of years old is a very exciting time for us."

Roark said the coral beds could keep researchers busy for decades.

"There are whole sets of ecology and biology questions that these coral beds raise," he points out.

"It's a case where one question leads to another and another, and we're still searching for some answers. The extreme age of the coral beds and their very slow growth, combined with the high levels of biodiversity surrounding the coral beds, means that protecting these reefs from further damage has to be a top priority."


'/>"/>

Contact: Brendan Roark
broark@geog.tamu.edu
979-862-1775
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
2. Gene decides whether coral relative will fuse or fight
3. New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
4. Study says middle class coral reef fish feel the economic squeeze
5. 4 years after tsunami: Corals stage comeback
6. First-ever socioeconomic study on coral reefs points to challenges of coastal resource management
7. Time running out on coral reefs as climate change becomes increasing threat
8. Light pollution offers new global measure of coral reef health
9. Coral reefs found growing in cold, deep ocean
10. Cold water corals conference to be held in Woods Hole
11. Rare corals breed their way out of trouble
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
4,000-year-old coral beds among world's oldest living things, prof says
(Date:12/15/2016)... and BADEN-BADEN, Germany , December 15, 2016 ... financial services provider, today announced an agreement with NuData Security, ... to join forces. The partnership will enable clients to focus ... compliance with local data protection regulation. ... In order to provide a ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016 Advancements ... experience, health wellness and wellbeing (HWW), and ... in three new passenger vehicles begin to ... gesture recognition, heart beat monitoring, brain wave ... facial monitoring, and pulse detection. These will ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... , Dec. 12, 2016  Researchers at ... possibilities for graphene by combining the material with ... highly sensitive pressure detector able to sense pulse, ... a small spider.  The research ... can be read here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... Gainesville, FL (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 ... ... muscle weakness and paralysis, today announced that it has submitted a 510(k) to ... stationary bikes that utilize MYOLYN’s patent-pending functional electrical stimulation (FES) technology. , ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Chicago, IL (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 ... ... auction on January 24th, 2017, to sell research and genetic testing lab equipment ... of service in the Northwest and Northeast regions of the United States. This ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017 Shareholder rights law firm Johnson & ... board members of CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... the proposed sale of the Company to Eli Lilly ... small molecules for the acute treatment of migraines. ... signed a definitive merger agreement with Eli Lilly. Under ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017 /PRNewswire/ - SQI Diagnostics Inc. (TSX-V: SQD; ... that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products ... today announced that Cameron Prange , President ... from its Board of Directors.  Mr. Prange,s resignation ... that have limited both his ability to act ...
Breaking Biology Technology: