Navigation Links
Stanford researchers say living corals thousands of years old hold clues to past climate changes
Date:2/14/2008

Using radiocarbon dating and samples of deep-sea corals snipped from the floor of the Pacific Ocean by a submersible, researchers from Stanford and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered that deep-sea corals growing off Hawaii are much older than previously thoughtsome as old as 4,000 years.

The surprise finding is important in two areas, says Stanfords Brendan Roark, a postdoctoral fellow of Professor Robert Dunbar in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. Roark will speak on the research Thursday and Friday in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

First, the finding suggests that harvesting of the oldest coral for jewelry should be banned by federal and local officials, he said. The long-lived corals grow so slowly that any level of harvesting is unsustainable; they take so long to grow that they simply cant replace themselves fast enough to survive even minimal harvesting.

Second, a 4,000-year-old coral, having stood in the same place in the Pacific Ocean and imbibed of the waters for so long, holds within its skeleton clues about the conditions of the ocean over many centuries. Ancient coral may turn out to be the archives of the ocean, Roark said, a unique reference library of past climate changes that could prove useful in understanding future climate change.

The coral might further our understanding, for example, of how the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

These organisms are the equivalent of the bristlecone pine in the deep ocean, he said. They are placed in jeopardy not only by coral harvesters but also by deep-sea trawling and long-line fishing. Clearly a different frame of mind is needed, he said. Its not a renewable resource.

Roark and his associates found that Gerardia, commonly known as gold coral, can live for at least 2,700 years. It grows in tree-like fashion to several meters in height. Even older is the deep-water black coral Leiopathes glaberrima. Another tree-like skeleton, it has life spans in excess of 4,000 yearssome of these corals began growing just a few hundred years after the great pyramids were built in Giza and are still alive today.

At the AAAS meeting, Roark, a paleoceanographer, will be presenting the results from a collaborative project focused on geochemical records of past oceanographic and climate variability, as recorded in six different species of deep-sea corals. The preliminary results suggest the possibility of reconstructing subsurface temperature variability and changes in ocean circulation.

Coral samples were collected in waters as deep as 1,500 feet at the Makapu'u deep-sea coral bed off the southeast coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Researchers went down in the Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratorys submersibles, Pisces IV and V.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dan Stober
dstober@stanford.edu
650-721-6965
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Americans remain pessimistic about the environment, Stanford-AP survey finds
2. Stanford/Packard researchers find disease genes hidden in discarded data
3. Stanford researchers say climate change will significantly increase impending bird extinctions
4. Stanfords nanowire battery holds 10 times the charge of existing ones
5. Stanford researchers publish review of US medical device regulation
6. Stanford researchers make first direct observation of 3-D molecule folding in real time
7. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
8. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
9. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
10. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
11. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... YORK , April 4, 2017   EyeLock ... today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark ... patent broadly covers the linking of an iris image ... same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... DuPont ... today that they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to identify and characterize ... with additional tools for gene editing across all applications. , Under the terms ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... with the addition of its newest module, US Hemostats & Sealants. , SmartTRAK’s ... hemostats, absorbable hemostats, fibrin sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic sealants used in surgical ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to ... of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The CRISPR-Cas9 ... enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The simplicity ... for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, such ...
Breaking Biology Technology: