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:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 ... in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global ... a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics ... Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the ... billion by 2021, on account of growing security concerns ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... WearablesResearch.com , a brand of Troubadour ... from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. ... receptivity to a program where they would receive discounts ... company. "We were surprised to see that ... LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today ... trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The ... ascending dose studies designed to assess the safety, ... injection in healthy adult volunteers. Forty ... a single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® Inc. (RCA), ... free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root Cause. ... no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to the Regulatory ...
Breaking Biology Technology: