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Tag: Coral

Largest-of-its-kind coral study offers plan to save the planet’s reefs

Largest-of-its-kind coral study offers plan to save the planet’s reefs

Science
Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A new survey of coral communities -- the largest of its kind, according to the research team -- has offered a roadmap for protecting Earth's reefs. The international team of scientists, including researchers with conservation groups, government agencies, and universities, identified three main strategies that can be quickly enacted to save reefs from climate change and human impacts. To identify where and how to save reefs, researchers measured coral abundance on more than 2,500 reefs along the coasts of 44 countries in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Their analysis proved a majority of reefs host functioning coral communities with a diverse and architecturally complex cover of species. After the El NiƱo event that lasted from 2014 to 2017, which triggered the largest cor
Climate change: Marine heatwaves kill coral instantly

Climate change: Marine heatwaves kill coral instantly

Science
Increasingly frequent marine heatwaves can lead to the almost instant death of corals, scientists working on the Great Barrier Reef have found. These episodes of unusually high water temperatures are - like heatwaves on land - associated with climate change. Scientists studying coral after a heat event discovered that extreme temperature rises decayed reefs much more rapidly than previously thought.They published their findings in the journal Current Biology.The study revealed that corals became up to 15% weaker after an extreme heat event, causing some fragments to actually break off from the reef. Dr Tracy Ainsworth, from the University of New South Wales in Australia...
Thirty-year study reveals cause of coral bleaching crisis

Thirty-year study reveals cause of coral bleaching crisis

Science
July 16 (UPI) -- Corals are disappearing across the world's oceans, and most scientists have pointed to warming water temperatures -- the result of climate change -- as the primary driver. But new research suggests nitrogen pollution is the main cause of coral bleaching in Florida. The study, published this week in the journal Marine Biology, was compiled using three-decades worth of observational data collected at the Looe Key Reef in the lower Florida Keys. "Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area," lead study author Brian Lapointe, research professor at Florida Atlantic U...
Ecologists solve coral reef halo mystery, but questions remain

Ecologists solve coral reef halo mystery, but questions remain

Science
April 26 (UPI) -- The ecological forces driving the development of sandy halos surrounding coral reefs are more complex than scientists previously realized. For years, scientists had observed a mysterious phenomenon. Many coral reefs are surrounded by expansive halos of bare sand, some measuring hundreds of thousands of square feet. Typically, thick meadows of seagrass or algae grow beyond the edge of these halos. Coral reef halos were first officially observed -- and documented in the scientific literature -- in the Caribbean, in St. John in 1965 and in St. Croix in 1972. Until now, scientists' explanation for the phenomena was rather basic. "They've been known for ages, and have been long assumed to be due to a simple chain of interactions: predators, fish-and invertebrate-eating fish...
Nitrogen degrading coral in Hawaii traced to wastewater treatment plant

Nitrogen degrading coral in Hawaii traced to wastewater treatment plant

Science
April 3 (UPI) -- Scientists have finally linked the excess nitrogen degrading Hawaiian coral to a wastewater treatment plant that injects treated sewage water into the ground. Previous studies using dyes showed wastewater from the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility was making its way into the ocean via small submarine seeps. However, with so many sources of nitrogen, it was difficult to prove the facility's wastewater was to blame for the excess nitrogen harming reefs along the West Maui coast. "They didn't have a smoking gun to say that the nitrogen came from the sewage," Adina Paytan, a research professor UC Santa Cruz's Institute of Marine Sciences, said in a news release. To identify the source of nitrogen, scientists developed a method for measuring isotope ratios in the nitrog...