Category Archives: Mangrove and Coral Destruction

The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

coral-dead
Dead coral. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Australia’s natural wonder is in mortal danger. Bleaching caused by climate change has killed almost a quarter of its coral this year and many scientists believe it could be too late for the rest. Using exclusive photographs and new data, a Guardian special report investigates how the reef has been devastated – and what can be done to save it…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Great Barrier Reef: the scale of bleaching has the most sober scientists worried, Guardian UK (04-16-2016)
I have dived hundreds of times, with different teams of scientists, along the reef. Yet the scale of this bleaching event has even the most sober and senior coral reef scientists worried. If the rhetoric from marine biologists is to be believed, then the Great Barrier Reef is now in the grip of a “bommie apocalypse”…

Coral bleaching hits 93% of Great Barrier Reef, Video, Science Daily (04-21-2016)
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of the World Heritage site affected, scientists say as they reveal the phenomenon is also hitting the other side of the country…

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching hits “extreme level”, CBC News (04-04-2016)
Coral bleaching, a phenomenon that can result in the widespread die-off of coral life, is a serious problem facing the world’s oceans, and according to a new aerial survey of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, 95 percent of the reef’s northern section is now bleached, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports…

Scientists: Major Coral Bleaching Crisis Spreads Worldwide, AP / US News & World Report (10-08-2015)
The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse…

Great Barrier Reef Near Whitsunday Islands

great-barrier-reef-nasa
Astronaut photograph ISS045-E-56257 was acquired on October 12, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 1150 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 45 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed.

By NASA / Earth Observatory;

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station used a powerful lens to photograph these three reefs in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The photo area spans about 15 kilometers (10 miles) of the 2300-kilometer (1,700 mile) reef system. Reefs are easy to spot from space because the iridescent blues of shallow lagoons contrast sharply with the dark blues of deep water.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system on Earth, with more than 3,000 separate reefs and coral cays. It is also one of the most complex natural ecosystems, with 600 types of corals and thousands of animal species from tiny planktons to whales.

Corals look like plants, but are in fact colonies of very small animals known as coral polyps—closely related to jellyfish. The color differences in the photo relate to different habitats for coral growth; that is, the habitats strongly relate to two sources of energy and nutrients.

Agitated water—as in the surface zone, where waves break against the reef—provides more plankton nutrients than still water, especially for reefs like these that lie far from land sources of nutrients (75 kilometers or 45 miles from the Queensland coastline). The best-developed reef crests face the open ocean (image right) for this reason. The dark, narrow channels between the lagoons also allow deeper, nutrient-rich water to reach the reef-crest corals. But waves are also destructive, so only robust types of coral live within the breaker zone.

The other source of energy is the sun, which is needed by symbiotic, single-cell organisms that provide most of the nutrients for coral growth. The dark blues in the image are zones where too little light penetrates the water. Tropical corals disappear where the light fades away: about 60 meters (200 feet) below the sea surface. By contrast, the shallow water within the lagoons has the strongest light supply and displays numerous patches of coral. Although lagoons are protected from the full force of waves, they lack the plankton supply from constant wave agitation. This limits the amount of living coral within the lagoon, as seen in the empty zones. But the lagoons have so many microhabitats that they boast the greatest number of species in the reef ecosystem—with mollusks, worms, and crustaceans often dominating the visible fauna.

The Great Barrier Reef is now protected in a marine park. The three reefs captured here—part of the planning area for the Whitsunday group of islands, which are 900 kilometers (560 miles) north of Brisbane in Queensland—have different types of protected status. The reef at top left is a habitat protection zone, controlling potentially damaging activities such as trawling. The reef on the lower left is a conservation park, which has limited fishing. The reef at the center of the image is a marine national park, with no fishing or collecting.

Original Article, NASA / Earth Observatory

“Sandbank On The Coast Of Whitsunday Island, Queensland, Australia;” Photograph courtesy of ©Yann Arthus-Bertrand, for Coastal Care Photo of the Month, January 2012

Queensland’s mangrove ecosystem dying in secret

mangrove-roots-coastalcare
Mangrove roots. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

There have been large scale diebacks of mangrove trees in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Scientists are not exactly sure what happened up there in the most remote areas of Queensland, but they know the damage is extensive and unprecedented…

Read Full Article, Brisbane Times

Mangroves die-off in Queensland’s Gulf Country and Limmen Bight, ABC News Australia (05-13-2016)
Experts have been focusing on hundreds of kilometres of mangroves along the coast in Queensland, that have turned a ghostly white. Serious concerns about the situation, which is compared to coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef, which is the result of warmer ocean temperatures, are raised…

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Root of the Matter: Mangrove as Lives Saver When Natural Disaster Strikes, NASA’s Earth Science News Team (10-28-2010)

The World Must Invest In Mangroves, The Ecologist (04-11-2014)

Mangrove Forests as Incredible Carbon Stores, The Nature Conservancy

Mangroves die-off in Queensland’s Gulf Country and Limmen Bight

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Mangrove roots. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
Mangroves are coastal tropical forests inhabiting the zone between the land and sea, made up of uniquely adapted, saltwater-tolerant tree and shrub species.They provide essential support to healthy marine ecosystems by trapping sediments and providing nutrients to nearby coastal seagrass beds and coral reefs.

Excerpts;

Experts have been focusing on hundreds of kilometres of mangroves along the coast of Karumba in Queensland’s Gulf Country and at Limmen Bight in the Northern Territory that have turned a ghostly white.

Serious concerns about the situation, which is compared to coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef, which is the result of warmer ocean temperatures, are raised…

Read Full Article, ABC News Australia

Coral bleaching hits 93% of Great Barrier Reef, Video, Science Daily (04-21-2016)
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of the World Heritage site affected, scientists say as they reveal the phenomenon is also hitting the other side of the country…

Great Barrier Reef: the scale of bleaching has the most sober scientists worried, Guardian UK (04-16-2016)

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Root of the Matter: Mangrove as Lives Saver When Natural Disaster Strikes, NASA’s Earth Science News Team (10-28-2010)

The World Must Invest In Mangroves, The Ecologist (04-11-2014)

Mangrove Forests as Incredible Carbon Stores, The Nature Conservancy

Continental drift created biologically diverse coral reefs

coral-coastal-care-polynesia
Photo source: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

An international research team has studied the geographical pattern of the evolution of corals and reef fish. Their findings show that today’s geographical distribution of tropical marine diversity is the result of 100 million years of Earth history and the continental drifts that shifted the position of shallow reef habitats…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Flipped from Head to Toe: 100 Years of Continental Drift Theory; Science Daily (01-05-2012)
On 6 January 1912, Alfred Wegener presented his theory of continental drift to the public for the first time. At a meeting of the Geological Association in Frankfurt’s Senckenberg Museum, he revealed his thoughts on the supercontinent Pangaea, which broke apart and whose individual parts now drift across Earth as today’s continents…

Students Reviving Mangrove Wetlands, Bahamas

mangrove-seedlings
Mangrove seedlings. Photo source: ©© Northways

Excerpts;

Students participated in a pilot programme called the Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (BAM), a project about mangrove education and restoration.

“A lot of times when you’re trying to promote conservation, it has to start with the youth,” “They’re our future generation that’s going to protect our resources, and help conserve them for the best…”

Read Full Article, Tribune 242

Preserving Mangroves Provides Protection and Food Security, IPS News (11-16-2015)

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Root of the Matter: Mangrove as Lives Saver When Natural Disaster Strikes, NASA’s Earth Science News Team (10-28-2010)

The World Must Invest In Mangroves, The Ecologist (04-11-2014)

Mangrove Forests as Incredible Carbon Stores, The Nature Conservancy

Endangered mangroves found in Cairns, Queensland

mangrove-coastalcare
Mangrove. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

An endangered species of mangrove previously found only in Asia has been discovered in far north Queensland. Environmentalists hope the discovery of mangrove species in north Queensland will aid calls for greater protection of fragile wetlands…

Read Full Article, SBS

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Preserving Mangroves Provides Protection and Food Security, IPS News (11-16-2015)

Root of the Matter: Mangrove as Lives Saver When Natural Disaster Strikes, NASA’s Earth Science News Team (10-28-2010)

New database gives scientists hope for helping coral reefs

coral-reef-coastal-care
Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

With the future of coral reefs threatened now more than ever, researchers have announced the release of a new global database that enables scientists and managers to more quickly and effectively help corals survive their many challenges…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Scientists: Major Coral Bleaching Crisis Spreads Worldwide, AP / US News & World Report (10-08-2015)
The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse…

El Niño prolongs longest global coral bleaching event, NOAA (02-24-2016)
Global warming and the current intense El Niño are prolonging the longest global coral die-off on record, according to NOAA scientists…