Tag Archives: Coral Reef

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching has started early, biologist says

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

Excerpts;

Warm water has already begun bleaching coral on the Great Barrier Reef, weeks ahead of the period with highest forecast risk. Satellite data suggest widespread bleaching is possible by March…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK (01-19-2018)

A Close-Up Look at the Catastrophic Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef; Yale E360 (04-10-2017)
Scientists are reporting the second mass bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef in the last year. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, researcher Terry Hughes says these events have damaged two-thirds of the world’s largest coral reef and are directly caused by global warming…

Greenpeace images show Great Barrier Reef suffering coral bleaching for second year in a row; Greenpeace (03-09-2017)
Greenpeace Australia Pacific today releases shocking photos and footage documenting the Great Barrier Reef’s first severe coral bleaching to happen two years in a row. The bleaching is the result of 12 months of above-average sea temperatures, which is “cooking the reef alive”…

Video Captures the Violent Act of Coral Bleaching, LiveScience (08-17-2016)

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)
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”…

War on global warming only way to save world’s coral, study says; CBS News (03-15-2017)
Reducing pollution and curbing overfishing won’t prevent the severe bleaching that is killing coral at catastrophic rates, according to a study of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. In the end, researchers say, the only way to save the world’s coral from heat-induced bleaching is with a war on global warming…

Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say; Guardian UK (01-08-2016)
There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago…

Worldwide change in shallow reef ecosystems predicted as waters warm


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A new study based on the first global survey of marine life by scuba divers has provided fresh insights into how climate change is affecting the distribution of marine life.

The research predicts that as the oceans warm fish, which appear to be superior predators in warm water, will extend their ranges away from the equator and cause a decline in the diversity of invertebrates such as crabs, lobsters, sea urchins and whelks…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (10-18-2017)

There’s still time to save the Great Barrier Reef from dying

great-barrier-reef
Great barrier of reef, Australia. Photo source: ©© Secruza

Excerpts;

Nearly 1,500 miles long, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is alight with a kaleidoscope of vivid colors. It’s home to roughly 9,000 species of fish, molluscs, whales and other creatures. In 1981, the reef was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Two major bleaching events have wracked the Great Barrier Reef over the last two years, leaving chunks of it dead…

Read Full Article; CBS News (10-18-2017)

A Close-Up Look at the Catastrophic Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef; Yale E360 (04-10-2017)
Scientists are reporting the second mass bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef in the last year. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, researcher Terry Hughes says these events have damaged two-thirds of the world’s largest coral reef and are directly caused by global warming…

Greenpeace images show Great Barrier Reef suffering coral bleaching for second year in a row; Greenpeace (03-09-2017)
Greenpeace Australia Pacific today releases shocking photos and footage documenting the Great Barrier Reef’s first severe coral bleaching to happen two years in a row. The bleaching is the result of 12 months of above-average sea temperatures, which is “cooking the reef alive”…

Video Captures the Violent Act of Coral Bleaching, LiveScience (08-17-2016)

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 suffered worst bleaching on record in 2016, BBC News (11-28-2016)

The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare; Guardian UK (06-07-2016)
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 photographs and new data, a Guardian special report investigates how the reef has been devastated – and what can be done to save it…

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”…

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…

Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say; Guardian UK (01-08-2016)
There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago…

War on global warming only way to save world’s coral, study says; CBS News (03-15-2017)
Reducing pollution and curbing overfishing won’t prevent the severe bleaching that is killing coral at catastrophic rates, according to a study of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. In the end, researchers say, the only way to save the world’s coral from heat-induced bleaching is with a war on global warming…

Historical nautical maps show loss of coral reefs


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Scientists have used detailed nautical maps created by British sailors in the 1700s to study more than two centuries of coral loss in the Florida Keys. They found that over the past 240 years, the region has lost more than half of its coral structures, with some areas, particularly closer to shore, either gone completely or having lost up to 90 percent of their extent…

Read Full Article, Yale E360 (09-08-2017)

Slathering on sunscreen at the beach? It may be destroying coral reefs


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Studies show that oxybenzone, a common chemical found particularly in spray-on sunscreens, contributes to coral bleaching and leaves reefs deformed…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK (04-28-2017)

Sunscreen Chemical Imperils Coral Reefs Around the Globe; AFP (10-21-2015)

Lathering up with sunscreen may protect against cancer — killing coral reefs worldwide, Science Daily 910-20-2015)
That’s the conclusion of a team of international scientists, which includes University of Central Florida professor and diving enthusiast John Fauth. The researchers found that oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound, is in high concentrations in the waters around the more popular coral reefs in Hawaii, and the Caribbean. The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly. The highest concentrations of oxybenzone were found in reefs most popular with tourists.

How we are all contributing to the destruction of coral reefs: Sunscreen, The Washington Post (10-20-2015)
And a new study finds that a single drop in a small area is all it takes for the chemicals in the lotion to mount an attack…

This Graphic Shows How Your Sunscreen Can Hurt Coral Reefs, TIME (10-21-2015)

Sea Floor Erosion in Coral Reef Ecosystems Leaves Coastal Communities at Risk

san-blas-panama
Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

By USGS;

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawai’i, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

In the Florida Keys, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Maui, coral reef degradation has caused sea floor depths to increase as sand and other sea floor materials have eroded over the past few decades, the USGS study found. In the waters around Maui, the sea floor losses amounted to 81 million cubic meters of sand, rock and other material – about what it would take to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times, the researchers calculated.

As sea levels rise worldwide due to climate change, each of these ecologically and economically important reef ecosystems is projected to be affected by increasing water depths. The question of whether coral colonies can grow fast enough to keep up with rising seas is the subject of intense scientific research.

But the USGS study, published April 20, 2017 in the journal Biogeosciences, found the combined effect of rising seas and sea floor erosion has already increased water depths more than what most scientists expected to occur many decades from now. Other studies that do not factor in sea floor erosion have predicted seas will rise by between 0.5 and 1 meter, or between 19 inches and 3 feet 3 inches, by 2100.

“Our measurements show that seafloor erosion has already caused water depths to increase to levels not predicted to occur until near the year 2100,” said biogeochemist Kimberly Yates of the USGS’ St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, the study’s lead author. “At current rates, by 2100 sea floor erosion could increase water depths by two to eight times more than what has been predicted from sea level rise alone.”

The study included areas of the reef tract in Florida’s Upper Keys and Lower Keys; looked at two reef ecosystems, St. Thomas and Buck Island, in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and also included the waters surrounding Maui. The researchers did not determine specific causes for the sea floor erosion in these coral reef ecosystems. But the authors pointed out that coral reefs worldwide are declining due to a combination of forces, including natural processes, coastal development, overfishing, pollution, coral bleaching, diseases and ocean acidification (a change in seawater chemistry linked to the oceans’ absorption of more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).

For each of the five coral reef ecosystems, the team gathered detailed sea floor measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration taken between 1934 and 1982, and also used surveys done from the late 1990s to the 2000s by the USGS Lidar Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Until about the 1960s sea floor measurements were done by hand, using lead-weighted lines or sounding poles with depth markings. From approximately the 1960s on, most measurements were based on the time it takes an acoustic pulse to reach the sea floor and return. The USGS researchers converted the old measurements to a format comparable to recent lidar data.

They compared the old and new sets of measurements to find the mean elevation changes at each site. The method has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to track other kinds of sea floor changes, such as shifts in shipping channels. This is the first time it has been applied to whole coral reef ecosystems. Next the researchers developed a computer model that used the elevation changes to calculate the volume of sea floor material lost.

They found that overall, sea floor elevation has decreased at all five sites, in amounts ranging from 0.09 meters (about 3 ½ inches) to 0.8 meters (more than 2 ½ feet). All five reef tracts also lost large amounts of coral, sand, and other sea floor materials to erosion.

“We saw lower rates of erosion—and even some localized increases in seafloor elevation—in areas that were protected, near refuges, or distant from human population centers,” Yates said. “But these were not significant enough to offset the ecosystem-wide pattern of erosion at each of our study sites.”

Worldwide, more than 200 million people live in coastal communities protected by coral reefs, which serve as natural barriers against storms, waves and erosion. These ecosystems also support jobs, provide about one-quarter of all fish harvests in the tropical oceans, and are important recreation and tourism sites.

“Coral reef systems have long been recognized for their important economic and ecological value,” said John Haines, Program Coordinator of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. “This study tells us that they have a critical role in building and sustaining the physical structure of the coastal seafloor, which supports healthy ecosystems and protects coastal communities. These important ecosystem services may be lost by the end of this century, and nearby communities may need to find ways to compensate for these losses.”

The study brought together ecosystem scientists and coastal engineers, who plan to use the results to assess the risks to coastal communities that rely on coral reefs for protection from storms and other hazards.

The study is available at www.biogeosciences.net/14/1739/2017.

Original Article And Learn More; USGS (04-20-2017)