Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Slowdown after Ice Age sounds a warning for Great Barrier Reef's future

05.05.2015

Environmental factors similar to those affecting the present day Great Barrier Reef have been linked to a major slowdown in its growth eight thousand years ago, research led by the University of Sydney, Australia shows.

"Poor water quality, increased sediments and nutrients - conditions increasingly being faced by the modern day reef - caused a delay in the Reef's growth of between seven hundred and two thousand years duration," said Belinda Dechnik, from the University of Sydney's School of Geosciences and lead author of an article published in Marine Geology in May.


This image shows One Tree Island research station on the Great Barrier Reef where Belinda Duchnik conducted her research on a slowdown in the Reef's growth.

Credit: University of Sydney

"It took hundreds more years then we would have expected to establish itself and even longer to attain the complex level of biodiversity that much of the Reef has become famous for."

"While that may appear inconsequential in the 700,000 year history of the Reef even a decade of such delayed growth would have a rapid impact on today's Reef and the experiences of the estimated two million people who visit it every year," Dechnik said.

The research was conducted at the University's research station at One Tree Island on the Reef.

The researchers sampled 15 reef cores from the Southern Great Barrier Reef. The cores were radiocarbon dated to establish their ages. Species of reef corals were also identified to establish any coral community changes over the past eight thousand years.

The findings show that when the Great Barrier Reef started its current regrowth, following the sea level rise when the ice sheets last melted eight thousand years ago, it was acutely sensitive to the turbulent conditions.

The increase in sediments and nutrients following the flooding of the pre-existing reefs is likely to have been responsible for the poor water quality.

"Not only was there a lag in reef growth of up to two thousand years following the flooding of the previous reef platforms but the reef communities that grew there were much less complex than those inhabiting those areas of the reef today. It took another two to three thousand years for the rich diversity that we see in those reef areas today to become established."

The researchers believe the findings have important implications for the future health of the Great Barrier Reef, as port expansions and high nutrient runoff is expected to increase over the coming decades, particularly in Gladstone, adjacent to where the reefs that were studied are located.

###

This research was done in collaboration with the University of Granada and Queen's University, Belfast.

Media Contact

Verity Leatherdale
verity.leatherdale@sydney.edu.au
61-403-067-342

 @SydneyUni_Media

http://www.usyd.edu.au/ 

Verity Leatherdale | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide
15.08.2018 | University of Washington

nachricht Algorithm provides early warning system for tracking groundwater contamination
14.08.2018 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>