Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global warming good news for coral reefs

13.12.2004


Coral reefs around the world could expand in size by up to a third in response to increased ocean warming and the greenhouse effect, according to Australian scientists.

"Our analysis suggests that ocean warming will foster considerably faster future rates of coral reef growth that will eventually exceed pre-industrial rates by as much as 35 per cent by 2100," says Dr Ben McNeil, an oceanographer from the University of News South Wales. "Our finding stands in stark contrast to previous predictions that coral reef growth will suffer large, potentially catastrophic, decreases in the future," says McNeil, who led and published the research in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, with colleagues Dr Richard Matear of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Dr David Barnes from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.

Previous research has predicted a decline of between 20 and 60 percent in the size of coral reefs by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels due to increasing CO2 levels in ocean surface waters. The new research suggests that present coral reef calcification rates are not in decline and are equivalent to late 19th century levels.



Coral reefs are built from calcium carbonate when red algae cement together a framework of coral skeletons and sediments. Seawater surface temperatures and the quantity of carbonate in seawater dictate their growth rate.

The Australian scientists have observed the calcification-temperature relationship at significant reef-building colonies around the world in the Indo-Pacific and at massive Porites reef colonies in Australia, Hawaii, Thailand, the Persian Gulf and New Ireland.

The predicted increase in the rate of coral reef calcification is most likely due to an enhancement in coral metabolism and/or increases in photosynthetic rates of red algae, according to the scientists. They used projections of ocean warming and CO2 concentration from a CSIRO climate model that accounts for atmosphere-ice and ocean carbon cycles.

"Our results show that increases in coral reef calcification associated with ocean warming outweigh decreases associated with increased atmospheric CO2", says CSIRO’s Dr Richard Matear. "While initially showing a decrease in calcification up to 1964, ocean warming outweighs the CO2 effect and stimulates recovery of coral reef calcification. Our results represent an average over the entire coral reef community and it will be important to undertake more specific regional analysis of models to better understand future changes in regions such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef."

Dr David Barnes from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville says: "Coral reef calcification and the changes suggested in our research are separate to the adverse future effects of coral bleaching which is associated with the corals symbiotic micro-algae, and the significant impacts of human activities such as poor water quality, and unsustainable fishing on many of the worlds coral reefs."

Dr Ben McNeil | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>