Efforts to protect coral reefs should be refocused on terminating self-reinforcing processes that accelerate degradation of these biological marvels, according to a Forum article published in the November 2004 issue of BioScience. The article, by Charles Birkeland of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, blames a series of "ratchets" — destructive forces that are hard to reverse — for the failure of most current efforts to halt continuing losses.
Birkeland identifies seven ecological ratchets that seem to contribute to the loss of coral reefs, including a decrease of corals reproductive success that may occur at lower population densities, the disproportionate survival of coral predators, and the ability of algae, which can prevent the establishment of new corals, to outgrow grazers. Birkeland also points to technological ratchets, economic ratchets, cultural ratchets, and conceptual ratchets. Technological advances such as scuba, night lights, monofilament nets, and the global positioning system, for example, make it easier for fishers to pursue coral reef fishes. Economic demand for rare and wild-caught fishes fosters investment in ever more sophisticated fishing equipment. And as expectations about coral reef productivity decrease, efforts to restore reefs are undermined. Birkeland proposes that organizations concerned about coral reefs should develop interventions that focus on preventing degradation, rather than on restoration. He also suggests that encouraging responsible stewardship would be easier if there were a return to local management of coral reef resources.
Journalists may obtain copies of the article, "Ratcheting Down the Coral Reefs," by contacting Donna Royston, AIBS communications representative.
Donna Royston | EurekAlert!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences