Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Marine protected areas conserve Mediterranean red coral

12.05.2010
A team of Spanish and French researchers has undertaken a pioneer analysis of red coral populations in the oldest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Mediterranean and the impact that fishing activity has had. Results show that MPAs are a guarantee for conserving this species.

Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum) has been highly valued for jewellery since ancient times. But intensive fishing, particularly in shallow waters, has transformed populations and hindered the recovery of this species along the Mediterranean coastline, where the colonies of coral at depths of less than 50 metres are now very small. Fishing and now climate change threaten the persistence of this slowing growing species which also boasts slow population dynamics.

A team of scientists has analysed the three oldest Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean – Banyuls, Carry-le-Rouet and Scandola, off the island of Corsica – to quantify the impact of human activity and ascertain how efficient MPAs are in conserving red coral, as the latter are "a vital tool" when it comes to observing the evolution of populations in the absence of fishing.

"The problem with studying a species that grows so slowly is that populations need to be monitored over long periods of time to guarantee sufficient data are obtained to estimate how populations have evolved," Cristina Linares, the author of the article and a researcher from the Department of Ecology at the University of Barcelona told SINC.

The study, which was published recently in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, shows that MPAs are "a slow but effective tool for conserving Mediterranean red coral populations," Joaquim Garrabou, co-author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences (CSIC) declared.

According to the scientists, Mediterranean red coral cannot be considered an endangered species. This opinion is justified by the extensive distribution of dense populations all over the Mediterranean Basin and the fact that some colonies with basal diameters of less than two millimetres are now sexually fertile.

Three Decades of Protection

The researchers chose these three Marine Protected Areas because they are 30 years old. They forecast the structure of red coral populations when they were created, and three decades later, they have returned to repeat the process.

According to Linares, "these MPAs are home to extraordinarily large colonies, at depths of less than 50 metres and also deep-dwelling populations, in comparison to the populations studied previously". This confirms that MPAs are effective as measures to conserve this species, "providing, as is the case in these three MPAs, that they are well managed and that constant surveillance guarantees the protection of this species," the authors state.

"But the forecast for the future of populations reveals that 30 years of protection are not enough to allow colonies to reach the size of those observed in the 1960s (with diameters of around 45 mm)", Garrabou underlines.

Linares warns that if the colonies continue to diminish, the resilience of this species (its ability to absorb disturbances without suffering changes) will be affected. "The lack of large colonies has significant implications for future of populations, because it is these colonies that contribute to reproduction and, therefore, the persistence of these populations," the researcher says.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Plant seeds survive machine washing - Dispersal of invasive plants with clothes
11.09.2018 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases
21.08.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time

21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells

21.09.2018 | Life Sciences

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>