Navigation Links
Catastrophic climatic events leave corals facing a decade-long fight for recovery

Marine conservationists from Plymouth University, and the Universidad Federal da Bahia in Brazil, have spent more than 17 years analysing the diversity and density of coral colonies off the coast of South America.

That coincided with the catastrophic El Nio event of 1997-98, creating an opportunity for the first detailed assessment of the long-term impact a major environmental incident of this nature can have on coral assemblages.

Professor Martin Attrill, Director of Plymouth University's Marine Institute, said: "Coral reefs are perhaps the most diverse marine ecosystem on Earth, potentially holding 25% of the known marine species. Yet they are under intense threat from a range of local human activities and, in particular, climate change. Any impact on the corals is going to have major knock on effects on the organisms that live on coral reefs, such as the fish, and if climatic events become more frequent, as is suggested, it is likely corals will never be able to fully recover."

The 1997-98 El Nio was the most extensive global event of its kind in history, with record global high seawater temperatures in an 18-month period before and subsequently.

It prompted flooding in some parts of the world and droughts in others, but also caused severe coral bleaching and mortality in parts of Central America, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, the tropical Pacific and Brazil.

For this study, the research team used their own observations of eight species of scleractinian corals, and data from the Brazilian Meteorological Office, to create a full picture of environmental conditions and species behaviour that resulted.

It showed a significant rise in air and seawater temperatures in 1998, with increased mortality across all species and, in one case, it disappearing completely from the reefs for more than seven years.

The density of the coral in the area also fell after 1998, but then increased continuously until 2007, with recent measurements showing it is now mostly back to pre-1998 levels.

Professor Attrill added: "El Nio events give us an indication of how changing climate affects ecosystems as major changes in the weather patterns within the Pacific impact the whole world. If the reefs can recover quickly, it is probable they can adapt and survive the likely changes in water temperature ahead of us. However, we found it took 13 years for the coral reef system in Brazil to recover, suggesting they may be very vulnerable to regular climate-related impacts. This has major consequences for how we consider climate change impacts on coral reefs."


Contact: Alan Williams
University of Plymouth

Related biology news :

1. UEA research reveals catastrophic loss of Cambodias tropical flooded grasslands
2. Ticks can adapt to the Spains climatic diversity
3. Climatic effects of a solar minimum
4. U of M to lead international virtual institute studying climatic and human effects on Earth
5. Research links extreme summer heat events to global warming
6. Unusual weather events identified during the Black Saturday bushfires
7. Stay-at-home transcription factor prevents neurodegeneration
8. Inhibition of enzyme NOX4 prevents liver fibrosis
9. How the tilt of a cell-surface receptor prevents cancer
10. Study pinpoints, prevents stress-induced drug relapse in rats
11. University of Montreal researchers discover how drug prevents aging and cancer progression
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/16/2015)... 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... announced expansion of its TDDI product portfolio with ... and display driver integration (TDDI) solutions designed to ... TDDI products add to the previously-announced TD4300 ... resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) solutions. All four ...
(Date:11/11/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... pleased to announce that it will be a Sponsor of ... to be held November 17-19 in Hamburg ... of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and ... has been able to deliver time and cost savings of ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... 9, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... broader entry into the automotive market with a comprehensive ... pace of consumer electronics human interface innovation. Synaptics, industry-leading ... for the automotive industry and will be implemented in ... Europe , Japan , and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... MUMBAI , November 26, 2015 ... --> Accutest Research ... accredited Contract Research Organization (CRO), has ... Chase Cancer Center - Temple Health ... ,     (Photo: ) ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Studies reveal the ... plaque and pave the way for more effective treatment for ...     --> --> ... health problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood about ... studies have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... in a fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray ... . The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December ... .  A replay will be available for 14 ... , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: ... speaking at the following conference, and invited investors to ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... Conference, New York, NY      Tuesday, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: