The study, say the authors, will help to conserve some of the world’s most important coral reefs by identifying reef systems where biodiversity is high and stress is low, ecosystems where management has the best chance of success.
Wildlife Conservation Society
The paper appears online in journal PLoS One. The authors include: Joseph M. Maina of WCS and a doctoral student at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; Timothy R. McClanahan of WCS; Valentijn Venus of Netherlands Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation; Mebrahtu Ateweberhan of the University of Warwick; and Joshua Madin of Macquarie University.
“Coral reefs around the globe are under pressure from a variety of factors such as higher temperatures, sedimentation, and human-related activities such as fishing and coastal development,” said Joseph M. Maina, WCS conservationist and lead author on the study. “The key to effectively identifying where conservation efforts are most likely to succeed is finding reefs where high biodiversity and low stress intersect.”
Using a wide array of publicly available data sets from satellites and a branch of mathematics known as fuzzy logic, which can handle incomplete data on coral physiology and coral-environment interactions, the researchers grouped the world’s tropical coral reef systems into clusters based on the sum of their stress exposure grades and the factors that reinforce and reduce these stresses.
The first cluster of coral regions—Southeast Asia, Micronesia, the Eastern Pacific, and the central Indian Ocean—is characterized by high radiation stress (sea surface temperature, ultra-violet radiation, and doldrums weather patterns with little wind) and few stress-reducing factors (temperature variability and tidal amplitude). The group also includes corals in coastal waters of the Middle East and Western Australia (both regions have high scores for reinforcing stress factors such as sedimentation and phytoplankton).
The second cluster— including the Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef, Central Pacific, Polynesia, and the Western Indian Ocean—contained regions with moderate to high rates of exposure as well as high rates of reducing factors, such as large tides and temperature variability.
Overall, stress factors such as surface temperature, ultra-violet radiation, and doldrums were the most significant factors, ones that ecosystem management has no control over. What is controllable is the mitigation of human impacts that reinforce radiation stress and where managers decide to locate their protected areas.
“When radiation stress and high fishing are combined, the reefs have little chance of surviving climate change disturbances because they both work against the survival of corals that are the foundation of the coral reef ecosystem,” said Dr. Tim McClanahan, WCS Senior Conservationist and head of the society’s coral reef research and conservation program.
The authors recommend that the study results be used to formulate management strategies that would include activities such as fishing restrictions, the management of watersheds through improved agricultural practices, and reforestation of coastal watersheds that play a role in healthy coral systems.
“The study provides marine park and ecosystem managers with a plan for spatially managing the effectiveness of conservation and sustainability,” said Dr. Caleb McClennen, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Marine Program. “The information will help formulate more effective strategies to protect corals from climate change and lead to improved management of reef systems globally.”
The Macquarie University’s Higher Degree Research (HDR) and the Wildlife Conservation Society Marine Program contributed to the mapping project, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
John Delaney | Newswise Science News
When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences