News That Matters

Tag: reefs

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
Palau to ban sunscreen as it tries to save its coral reefs

Palau to ban sunscreen as it tries to save its coral reefs

Technology
In an attempt to protect the coral reefs that divers so admire they have dubbed them the underwater Serengeti, the Pacific nation of Palau will soon ban many types of sunscreen. President Tommy Remengesau Jr. last week signed legislation that bans "reef-toxic" sunscreen from 2020. Banned sunscreens will be confiscated from tourists who carry them into the country, and merchants selling the banned products will be fined up to $ 1,000. Remengesau said in a statement that the penalties find the right balance between "educating tourists and scaring them away." The law defines reef-toxic sunscreen as containing any one of 10 chemicals, including oxybenzone, and states that other chemicals may also be banned. The legislation also requires tour operators to start providing customers with reusab...
Coral reefs 'weathered dinosaur extinction'

Coral reefs 'weathered dinosaur extinction'

Science
Corals may have teamed up with the microscopic algae which live inside them as much as 160 million years ago, according to new research.The two organisms have a symbiotic relationship, meaning they need each other to survive.But this partnership was previously thought to have developed about 60 million years ago.The new findings suggest that reef algae may have weathered significant environmental changes over time.This includes the mass extinction that wiped out most of the dinosaurs.Algae's resilience to temperature changes has been of concern to scientists recently, as warming events on the Great Barrier Reef have seen the coral "bleached" of its algae. The study, conducted by an international ...
A third of coral reefs 'entangled with plastic'

A third of coral reefs 'entangled with plastic'

Science
Plastic is one of the biggest threats to the future of coral reefs after ocean warming, say scientists.More than 11 billion items of plastic were found on a third of coral reefs surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region.This figure is predicted to increase to more than 15 billion by 2025.Plastic raises by 20-fold the risk of disease outbreaks on coral reefs, according to research. Plastic bags, bottles and rice sacks were among the items found."Plastic is one of the biggest threats in the ocean at the moment, I would say, apart from climate change," said Dr Joleah Lamb of Cornell University in Ithaca, US. "It's sad how many pieces of plastic there are in the coral reefs ...if we can start targeting those big polluters of plastic, hopefully we can start reducing the amount that is going on to the...
Coral reefs head for 'knock-out punch'

Coral reefs head for 'knock-out punch'

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceRepeat bouts of warmer seawater are posing a significant challenge to the world's tropical corals. A study of 100 reefs, published in Science Magazine, shows the interval between bleaching events in recent decades has shortened dramatically. It has gone from once every 25-30 years in the early 1980s to an average of just once every six years today. Bleaching is caused by anomalously warm water, which prompts coral polyps to eject their symbiotic algae. This drains the corals of their colour and is fatal unless conditions are reversed in a reasonably short time. But even if temperatures fall back quickly, it can still take many years for damaged reefs to fully recover. "If you go into the ring with a heavyweight boxer, you could probably stand up ...