Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Isolation a Threat to Great Barrier Reef Fish

07.07.2010
At first glance it may seem like a good idea to be a fish living the quiet life on a small and isolated reef.

But a team of researchers has found that the opposite is the case on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Using 15 years of long-term monitoring data collected from 43 reefs by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the researchers from AIMS and the University of Adelaide have found that fish living on small, isolated reefs face a greater risk of local extinction.

The results have been published in Ecology, the journal of the Ecological Society of America.

"Our results support the idea that small and isolated reefs are more susceptible to local species extinctions because of the tendency for their fish populations to be more variable," says project leader Dr Camille Mellin, a Postdoctoral Fellow from AIMS and the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute.

"Isolated reefs receive relatively fewer ‘immigrant’ fish from adjacent reefs. If there is a disturbance to the population, such as a cyclone or coral bleaching, fish species on isolated reefs are much slower to recover. These populations are not as resilient to changes and are not easily replenished, increasing their probability of extinction."

By contrast, larger, more populated reefs see fewer large fluctuations in the fish population. This is partly due to the increased competition between species, and partly because of predators, which keep the population size in check.

"Our research suggests that conservation resources might be better allocated to the protection of large, connected habitats," Dr Mellin says.

As a result of the research, a map has been produced predicting the patterns of variability of coral reef fish species on the Great Barrier Reef.

"This new map is a potential new tool for the managers of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but it’s important to emphasize that it is just one tool. When making management decisions for the Reef, a whole range of issues needs to be taken into account," Dr Mellin says.

Professor Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modeling at the University of Adelaide, says the research is "an essential piece in the marine planning puzzle". "If data for other reefs around the world become available, it would be possible to assess threats to species in those parts of the world using the same techniques," he says.

"Our research also demonstrates the need for long-term data sets," says Dr Julian Caley, Principal Research Scientist at AIMS. "This work would not have been possible without AIMS' commitment to the long-term monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef. This dataset is unique in the world and the only one that would have made this study possible."

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef system, composed of more than 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for more than 2600 kilometers (1600 miles).

Dr Camille Mellin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.adelaide.edu.au

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>