Navigation Links
Caribbean coral reefs flattened

Coral reefs throughout the Caribbean have been comprehensively 'flattened' over the last 40 years, according to a disturbing new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The collapse of reef structure has serious implications for biodiversity and coastal defences a double whammy for fragile coastal communities in the region.

It was already known that coral cover in the Caribbean was in decline, but this is the first large scale study showing exactly what this means for the architecture of the region's reefs.

Published online on Wednesday June 10 by the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers found that the vast majority of reefs have lost their complex structure and become significantly flatter and more uniform. The most complex reefs have been virtually wiped out.

The researchers, working with colleagues at Simon Fraser University in Canada, analysed changes in the structure of reefs using 500 surveys across 200 reefs conducted between 1969 and 2008. They found that 75 per cent of the reefs are now largely flat, compared with 20 per cent in the 1970s.

There have been two major periods of reef flattening. The first occurred when a widespread disease killed about 90 per cent of the Elkhorn and Staghorn corals in the late 1970s. The second period has been underway more recently and is thought to have been caused by an increase in the intensity and frequency of coral bleaching events, as a consequence of human-induced climate change increasing sea surface temperatures.

Lead researcher Lorenzo Alvarez-Filip, of UEA's School of Biological Sciences, said: "For many organisms, the complex structure of reefs provides refuge from predators. This drastic loss of architectural complexity is clearly driving substantial declines in biodiversity, which will in turn affect coastal fishing communities.

"The loss of structure also vastly reduces the Caribbean's natural coastal defences, significantly increasing the risk of coastal erosion and flooding."

Reversing declines in reef architecture now poses a major challenge for scientists and policy-makers concerned with maintaining reef ecosystems and the security and well-being of Caribbean coastal communities.


Contact: Simon Dunford
University of East Anglia

Related biology news :

1. Searching for pollution in the Caribbean
2. The University of Miami receives grants from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.s Ocean Fund
3. NTDs burden in Latin America and the Caribbean may exceed that of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria
4. Spanish researchers discover significant leatherback turtle nesting beaches in the Caribbean
5. New NOAA coral bleaching prediction system calls for low level of bleaching in Caribbean this year
6. From Canada to the Caribbean: Tree leaves control their own temperature, Penn study reveals
7. Humans have caused profound changes in Caribbean coral reefs
8. Canadian-based UN coral reef expert honored at world meeting in Australia
9. In the turf war against seaweed, coral reefs more resilient than expected
10. Studies shed light on collapse of coral reefs
11. Stanford scientists find heat-tolerant coral reefs that may resist climate change
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 The Department of Transport Management ... 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant and ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... 1, 2016 Favorable Government Initiatives ... and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market ... TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market By ... and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market ... on account of growing security concerns across various end ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... NEW YORK , May 16, 2016   ... authentication solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded ... provides an unprecedented level of convenience and security with ... to authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and ... and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension ... light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with ... in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston ... of novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness ... has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the ... treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) ... inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- A person commits a crime, and the detective uses ... criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness makes ... uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that caused ... not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge technology ... Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: