Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Caribbean coral reef protection efforts miss the mark

18.06.2010
Conservation efforts aimed at protecting endangered Caribbean corals may be overlooking regions where corals are best equipped to evolve in response to global warming and other climate challenges.

That's the take-home message of a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Science by researchers Ann Budd of the University of Iowa and John Pandolfi of the University of Queensland, Australia.

Budd and Pandolfi focus on understanding the biodiversity of reef-building corals--organisms that are highly diverse and seriously threatened.

Their work focuses on evolutionary processes documented in the fossil record over long time periods, a history that encompasses and shows the effects of global environmental change.

"The research demonstrates that the predominance of evolutionary innovation occurs at the outlying edges of Caribbean coral species ranges, as opposed to the well-connected central part of the Caribbean," said H. Richard Lane, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research along with NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

The scientists conclude that if coral reef conservation strategies protect only the centers of high species richness, they will miss important sources of evolutionary novelty during periods of global change.

"Current conservation priorities are calculated on the basis of species richness, endemism [geographical uniqueness] and threats," said Budd.

"However, areas ranked highly for these factors may not represent regions of maximum evolutionary potential."

Budd and Pandolfi conducted their study by analyzing the relationship between geography and evolutionary innovation in a complex of Caribbean reef corals where morphological and genetic data match on species differences.

Based on a comparison of fossil corals and modern colonies, the scientists found that morphological disparity varies from the center to the edge of the Caribbean, and that lineages are static at well-connected central locations--but split or fuse in edge zones.

"The results show that edge zones are critical to biodiversity," Budd said.

The findings mirror those of studies of the molecular biogeography of sea urchins and other marine invertebrates, she said, and are important to understanding the evolutionary ecology of the sea under projected global climate change.

The scientists argue for a coral reef conservation strategy that not only takes into account biodiversity hotspots, but also focuses on evolutionary processes and the preservation of peripheral areas of species ranges, as well as connectivity among populations.

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>