Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Helping coral reefs survive climate change

24.07.2003


1) Coral species can differ in their bleaching responses: the Acropora sp. on the left is bleached, while the Porites sp. on the right is not
Photo: Arjan Rajasuriya, Westmacott et al. 2000

2) Bleached branching corals (Acropora sp.) in the western Indian Ocean in 1998
Photo: ARVAM, Westmacott et al. 2000

3) The tip of this coral colony (Acropora sp.) is bleached but alive, while the lower portion has died and is now overgrown with algae
Photo: ARVAM, Westmacott et al. 2000


While the high ocean surface temperatures during the 1997-98 El Nino bleached coral reefs in more than 50 tropical countries worldwide, patches of coral did survive in or near the damaged reefs. A new study of these patches identifies factors likely to protect these threatened marine ecosystems during climate change.

"As baseline sea surface temperatures continue to rise, climate change may represent the single greatest threat to coral reefs worldwide," say Jordan West of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, and Rodney Salm of The Nature Conservancy in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the August issue of Conservation Biology.

Coral reefs have among the greatest biodiversity of any ecosystem worldwide and provide key services to people, from food to coastal protection to tourism. Reef-building corals depend on symbiotic algae to photosynthesize much of their food, and surface waters that are warmer than normal can "bleach" corals by depleting their photosynthetic pigments or even make them expel their algae.



To help conserve coral reefs during climate change, West and Salm assessed factors that may have protected the coral patches that survived the 1997-98 bleaching. The factors fell into two categories: those that make corals resistant to climate change by, for instance, reducing local sea surface temperatures, and those that make reefs resilient to climate change by helping them recover from bleaching.

The researchers found that the factors that confer resistance to bleaching include local upwellings of cold water, and natural exposure to heat stress. For instance, in an area of Binh Thuan, Vietnam, upwelling of cold water brought surface temperatures down from 39 degrees C to 29 degrees C within days, and corals there recovered better than elsewhere in the country.

In addition, corals that emerge at low tides may be more tolerant of heat stress. For instance, in Palau’s Rock Islands, the reef flats that emerge during the low tide were bleached less than the parts of the reef that are in deeper waters.

The factors that confer resilience to bleaching include having diverse populations of corals that produce lots of larvae, surface currents that spread the larvae, herbivorous fish that graze the algae that otherwise grow on top of damaged reefs and prevent the establishment of new corals, and management that decreases stresses such as pollution and fishing methods that destroy reefs.

West and Salm recommend that coral reef managers use this work to identify and protect patches of coral reef that are most likely to persist during continuing climate change. Establishing reserves that protect networks of these patches will help ensure that the corals that survive a major bleaching event will be able to replenish those that do not. The Nature Conservancy is currently applying this work to help coral reefs recover from bleaching in the Republic of Palau, which is developing a national network of Marine Protected Areas.

Contact: Rodney Salm, (+1) 808-587-6284, rsalm@tnc.org

Jordan West | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://conservationbiology.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How to detect water contamination in situ?
22.09.2016 | Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)

nachricht Quantifying the chemical effects of air pollutants on oxidative stress and human health
12.09.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

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: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

New leukemia treatment offers hope

23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine

Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>