Now the team – led jointly by Newcastle University and the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York – say that urgent action is needed to prevent the collapse of this important marine ecosystem.
The research, published today in the journal PLoS ONE, is the largest study of its kind to have been carried out, covering 66 sites across seven countries and spanning over a decade in the Indian Ocean.
Current protection zones – or ‘No-take areas’ (NTAs) – were set up to protect fish in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before climate change was a major issue.
The team – which comprises of experts from the UK, Australia, the US, Sweden and France – found the small-scale zones were not working to protect coral reefs against the effects of climate change.
They conclude that while the existing zones should not be removed, new areas are needed in the right place to protect corals against the effects of rising temperatures.
And they say that managing the system as a whole is crucial if coral reef communities are to have any hope of surviving the effects of global warming.
Lead researcher Nick Graham, of Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science and Technology, said: “We need a whole new approach – and we need to act now.
“Our research shows that many of the world’s existing no-take areas are in the wrong place.
“New protected zones are needed that focus on areas identified as escaping or recovering well from climate change impacts. But a major focus needs to be shifted towards increasing the resilience of the system as a whole – that means reducing as many other locally derived threats as possible.
“Coral dies when it is put under stress so what we need to be doing is reducing the direct human impact – such as over-fishing, pollution and sedimentation – across the whole area.
“By removing all these other stresses we are giving the coral the best chance of surviving and recovering from any changes in temperature that may occur as a result of global warming.”
Previous work by the team focused on the long-term impact of the 1998 event where global warming caused Indian Ocean surface temperatures to increase to unprecedented and sustained levels, killing off (or ‘bleaching’) more than 90 per cent of the inner Seychelles coral.
Although many areas are showing signs of long-term degradation, Mr Graham said it was positive to see that some locations either escaped the impact or have recovered.
“This provides the key to conserving coral reefs in the face of climate change,” he says. “We are not suggesting that we scrap the existing NTAs – in terms of protecting fish stocks they have been quite successful.
“But they are not effective against global warming and in order to ensure the long-term survival of this rich marine community that is what we need to address.”
Nicholas Graham | EurekAlert!
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy