Navigation Links
The fragility of the world's coral is revealed through a study of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) A new study by researchers from UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) sheds light on how threats to the world's endangered coral reef ecosystems can be more effectively managed.

In a recent issue of the journal Coral Reefs, lead authors Kimberly A. Selkoe and Benjamin S. Halpern, both of NCEAS, explain how their maps of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) a vast area stretching over 1,200 miles can be used to make informed decisions about protecting the world's fragile reefs.

Coral reef ecosystems are at risk due to the direct and indirect effects of human activities. This study was designed to help natural resource managers make decisions on issues such as surveillance priorities, granting of permits for use, and discernment of which areas to monitor for climate change effects.

"Our maps of cumulative human impact are a powerful tool for synthesizing and visualizing the state of the oceans," said first author Selkoe, who is also affiliated with Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii. "The maps can aid in strategically zoning uses of oceans in an informed way that maximizes commercial and societal benefits while minimizing further cumulative impact."

"President (George W.) Bush declared the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a National Monument in 2006, in part because it is one of the last places in the oceans that have not been heavily altered by human activities," said Halpern. "Our maps of cumulative human impact on these islands show that, despite their extreme isolation, humans are already significantly impacting this special place, and that many of the key threats, such as those associated with climate change, are not mitigated with Monument designation. We must continue to act to protect these islands and coral atolls if we hope to preserve them for future generations."

The authors studied 14 threats specific to NWHI. The threats, all generated by humans, included alien species, bottom fishing, lobster trap fishing, ship-based pollution, ship strike risks, marine debris, research diving, research equipment installation, and wildlife sacrifice for research. Human-induced climate change threats were also studied, including increased ultraviolet radiation, seawater acidification, the number of warm ocean temperature anomalies relevant to disease outbreaks and coral bleaching, and sea level rise.

Risk of increased rates of coral disease due to warming ocean temperature was found to have the highest impact, along with other climate-related threats. However, the authors noted that climate issues cannot be resolved by managers at the regional level. It was noted that threats related to ship traffic are most easily managed by regional management.

"With the scientific justification provided by our study, the managers of the Monument have an opportunity to make addressing the worst threats a top priority as they decide on management strategies," said Selkoe. "By updating the map of cumulative impacts through time, success of management plans in reducing cumulative impacts can be measured, and permits for new uses can be evaluated in the context of how they add to the landscape of cumulative impacts.

"The coral reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands make up the majority of U.S. coral reef area, and we should all be proud that they are some of the most pristine in the world, and fully protected under U.S. law," said Selkoe. "However, threats like marine debris, pollution from shipping, climate change effects and alien species still threaten to degrade these reefs. Our effort to systematically inventory and map the ongoing threats to these reefs, as we have done in this project, is an important part of protecting them."

The authors note that this analysis can serve as a case study for other areas and managers who are interested in mapping region-specific cumulative human impacts and in making assessments.


Contact: Gail Gallessich
University of California - Santa Barbara

Related biology news :

1. Quantum weirdness, parallel worlds, dinosaur poop, and the ultimate fate of the universe...
2. The best both of worlds -- how to have sex and survive
3. 4,000-year-old coral beds among worlds oldest living things, prof says
4. New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
5. Gene decides whether coral relative will fuse or fight
6. New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
7. Study says middle class coral reef fish feel the economic squeeze
8. 4 years after tsunami: Corals stage comeback
9. First-ever socioeconomic study on coral reefs points to challenges of coastal resource management
10. Time running out on coral reefs as climate change becomes increasing threat
11. Light pollution offers new global measure of coral reef health
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
The fragility of the world's coral is revealed through a study of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., today announced ... of its DNA library preparation products, including the ... ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has been optimized ... NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis of cell-free ... applications in cancer and other conditions. Eurofins Scientific ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 In ... major issues of concern for various industry verticals such ... is due to the growing demand for secure & ... in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, ... for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... and LAS VEGAS , Oct. ... Labs , an innovator in modern authentication and a ... announced the launch of its latest version of the ... enabling organizations to use standards-based authentication that supports existing ... S3 Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Mass. , Dec. 1, 2015 Researchers ... the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have ... that significantly cut down on "off-target" editing errors. The ... in the use of genome editing. Science ... that changing three of the approximately 1,400 amino acids ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015 ... "2016 Europe Cell Surface Markers: Country ... Strategies, Opportunities for Suppliers--France, Germany, Italy, Spain, ... --> ) has announced the ... Surface Markers: Country Volume and Sales Forecasts, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... FRANCISCO , Dec. 1, 2015  Symic, a ... affect the extracellular matrix (ECM), today announced that it ... to advance the company,s pipeline, including its lead candidates ... Ventures and includes the participation by all existing major ... funding brings the total capital raised by Symic to ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ) has ... Virology and Bacteriology Testing Market: Sales and ... Shares by Test, Innovative Technologies, Competitive Strategies, ... --> ) has announced the ... Bacteriology Testing Market: Sales and Volume Segment ...
Breaking Biology Technology: