Navigation Links
Will coral reefs disappear?
Date:2/21/2010

This is the title of an upcoming symposium at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual conference in San Diego, California. And it's a topic that should not be taken lightly.

NSERC-funded researcher Dr. Simon Donner, an assistant professor in the department of geography at the University of British Columbia, will be talking about the vulnerability of coral reefs to climate change due to higher ocean temperatures.

Dr. Donner studies coral bleaching. Corals get most of their energy from microscopic algae that live in their tissue. These algae are colourful and are what gives corals their vivid hue. When environmental factors go out of the range that corals are used to (such as warming water), the symbiosis between the coral and the algae breaks down and corals effectively expel the algae and turn white. The coral is then deprived of its source of energy, and dies.

Dr. Donner studies the frequency of coral bleaching events, their consequences and the link to unusually warm oceans. He says that mass coral bleaching events were thought to be extremely rare as far back as 30 years ago.

At the AAAS conference he will be talking about the predicted occurrence of bleaching events under different climate scenarios and, according to

Dr. Donner, it doesn't look good.

"Even if we froze emissions today, the planet still has some warming left in it. That's enough to make bleaching dangerously frequent in reefs worldwide," he says.

Given the hundreds of millions of people living in the tropics who depend on coral reefs for food, income, tourism and shoreline protection, the loss of reefs is a serious issue.

"Obviously, there's an aesthetic concern because people see Finding Nemo and they're worried about what's going to happen to the world's coral reefs, but the key thing is that there are hundreds of millions of people who depend on them for their livelihood," says Dr. Donner.

However, the outlook isn't completely bleak. Dr. Donner says that no one is predicting that coral reefs will go extinct; they will continue to survive, but only in certain habitats, such as shaded areas. The reality is a general loss of coral cover and a breakdown of the physical structure of reefs.

In order to see what the future of reefs might be, Dr. Donner is pursuing fieldwork in the central equatorial Pacific, because the islands and reefs in that area are affected by repeated El Nino events. Because of this, they've experienced higher year-to-year temperature variability than other areas on the planet. Dr. Donner is studying the corals in these areas to understand how the reefs are biologically different, and how that has allowed them to persist through warm water events that would kill coral in other areas of the planet.

"It's a natural model for the future," he says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Simon Donner
simon.donner@geog.ubc.ca
604-561-7284
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Coral can recover from climate change damage
2. Discovery of the Jekyll-and-Hyde factors in coral bleaching
3. Sponges recycle carbon to give life to coral reefs
4. The white stuff: Marine lab team seeks to understand coral bleaching
5. What are coral reef services worth? $130,000 to $1.2 million per hectare, per year: experts
6. What are coral reef services worth? $130,000 to $1.2 million / ht / yr: Experts
7. Coral bleaching increases chances of coral disease
8. Scripps-led study shows ocean health plays vital role in coral reef recovery
9. Coralline algae in the Mediterranean lost their tropical element between 5 and 7 million years ago
10. Nursery programs for corals receive TLC from NOAA this Independence Day
11. Corals stay close to home
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/27/2016)... , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite Track, Inc. ... in West Chester, Ohio announced ... winning service staff, based in Austin, Texas ... and ability to provide modifications, installations and technical support ... , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has provided world ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , January 22, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Behavioral ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) ... "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... 20, 2016 A market that just keeps ... from the explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn all about ... A range of dynamic trends are pushing market growth ... medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - next generation ... - greater understanding of the role of genetic material ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 09, ... ... technical and strategic changes over the years and Open Access publishing is one ... community. , With its 700+ open access journals and 3000+ ...
(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)... BIOREM Inc. (TSXV: BRM) ("Biorem" or "the Company") today announced ... companies in the TSX Venture 50 TM . ... TSX Venture Exchange, in each of five major industry sectors ... life sciences, diversified industries and technology – based on a ... market cap growth, trading volume and analyst coverage. All data ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... DURHAM, N.C. , Feb. 8, 2016 Novan, Inc. ... named Chairman of the Board of Directors of Novan. In addition, ... Directors. North Carolina . ... The Company also announced that it received a total of $32.8 ... December 2015 from its private investor network originating throughout the Research ...
Breaking Biology Technology: