Navigation Links
Our coral reefs: In trouble - but tougher than we thought
Date:7/12/2012

Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef, recover faster from major stresses than their Caribbean counterparts, leading marine scientists said today.

Dr George Roff and Professor Peter Mumby from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland told the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns that coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean are naturally tougher than the Caribbean reefs.

"The main reason that Indo-Pacific reefs are more resilient is they have less seaweed than the Caribbean Sea," Dr Roff says. "Seaweed and corals are age-old competitors in the battle for space. When seaweed growth rates are lower, such as the Indo-Pacific region, the reefs recover faster from setbacks. This provides coral with a competitive advantage over seaweed, and our study suggests that these reefs would have to be heavily degraded for seaweeds to take over.

"This doesn't mean that we can be complacent reefs around the world are still heavily threatened by climate change and human activities," he says. "What it indicates is Indo-Pacific reefs will respond better to protection, and steps we take to keep them healthy have a better chance of succeeding."

"Many of the doom and gloom stories have emanated from the Caribbean, which has deteriorated rapidly in the last 30 years," says Professor Mumby. "We now appreciate that the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean are far more different than we thought."

The study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE), includes survey data Indo-Pacific region and Caribbean reefs from 1965 to 2010.

The researchers also found that seaweeds in Indo-Pacific region bloom four times more slowly than those in the Caribbean.

"We're not sure why this happens, but a plausible theory is that Caribbean waters are highly enriched in iron," they say. "For thousands of years, the Caribbean Sea has received dusts that blow across the Atlantic from the Sahara, and the dust contains iron an essential element for algae to grow.

"This suggests that the difference between the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean oceans and their coral reefs is fundamental, and occurs at a very large scale.

"Another factor that protects these reefs is the abundance of herbivorous fish, such as surgeon and parrotfish that treat seaweed as a delicacy. The Indo-Pacific region has a lot of these fishes.

"For instance, the Indo-Pacific region has 70 species and six genera of parrotfish, while the Caribbean only has 13 species and two genera of the fish."

While the findings indicate a brighter future for the Indo-Pacific reefs, nations such as Australia will need to maintain vigilant protection of the ocean, the researchers warn.

"All reefs face an uncertain future, particularly in places with lots of human activities," they say. "We still need to curb the overfishing of herbivorous fish, as they are very sought after in the Pacific. We also need to control the level of nutrients in the water and prevent runoff when necessary.

"The good news is that our Indo-Pacific reefs are tougher than we thought we just need to make sure that our actions won't destroy their natural resilience."


'/>"/>
Contact: George Roff
g.roff@uq.edu.au
61-043-293-1051
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Breaking up isnt hard to do -- the secret lives of corals on dark and stormy nights
2. Worlds leading coral experts to gather in Australia
3. Global warming threat to coral reefs: Can some species adapt?
4. Rising ocean temperatures harm protected coral reefs
5. Declines in Caribbean coral reefs pre-date damage resulting from climate change
6. Preventing home invasions means fighting side-by-side for coral-dwelling crabs and shrimp
7. Some corals like it hot: Heat stress may help coral reefs survive climate change
8. Corals could survive a more acidic ocean
9. Under climate change, winners and losers on the coral reef
10. Pacific islands may become refuge for corals in a warming climate, study finds
11. Florida Tech biological sciences professor earns $257,000 NSF grant to study coral diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/13/2016)... 13, 2016 ... of the  "India Biometrics Authentication & ... (2015-2020)"  report to their offering.  ... announced the addition of the  "India ... Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... , Jan. 11, 2016  higi, the leading ... 10,000 retail locations, web and mobile, today announced ... million from existing investors. --> ... devoted to further innovate higi,s health platform – ... web portal – including expanding services and programs ...
(Date:1/8/2016)... -- NXTD ), a company focused on ... privately held leading direct seller of vacation and entertainment ... company announced that on December 31, 2015, that WorldVentures ... to develop a proprietary new wireless smart card for ... unique smart wallet that serves to securely store all ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 , ... The ... the organization’s history, it is offering its 2016 AAT Member Certification Qualification Course for ... The curriculum for the webinar, which will include a detailed review of hardware, software, ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , February 9, 2016 ... replace paper and protect IP   E-WorkBook 10 ... be rolled out in Germany early ... protect valuable IP. Users will be able to search for ... experiment as part of the application, to boost collaboration and ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , Feb. 8, 2016 Should antibiotic bone ... cement products to prevent infection after standard total hip ... experts at ECRI Institute have been fielding a lot ... Fighting Your Bottom Line?" --> ... Line?" --> While there isn,t ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , Feb. 8, 2016  BioElectronics Corporation ... medical devices, announced today that it is responding ... proceedings from the Securities and Exchange Commission posted ... Staelin , Chairman of the Board of BioElectronics ... of Business Administration at The Fuqua School of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: