[Coral-List] More Good News from down under.

Gene Shinn eshinn at marine.usf.edu
Mon Jan 5 15:52:16 EST 2009

Just returned from the Florida Keys and read the 
ad hominem attacks on the writer of the  news 
article. Interesting no one refuted what he said. 
So what is the bottom line? Are the reefs there 
better? unchanged? or worse? The article also 
stimulated yet another round of what can be 
called, "how can we get the word out?" responses. 
So today I received yet another article from Down 
Under that relates to getting the word out. 
Journalism at its best!

Sydney Morning Herald, AU, January 2, 2009 - 3:18PM

Scientists fear the already declining growth rate 
of the Great Barrier Reef's corals will stop 
completely by 2050, killing off the reef and 
making way for algae.
A new report shows the most robust corals on the 
reef have slowed in growth by more than 14 per 
cent since the "tipping point" in 1990.
The paper, published in the international journal 
Science and written by scientists Dr Glenn 
De'ath, Dr Janice Lough and Dr Katharina 
Fabricius, shows evidence of a decline in the 
calcification rates in the Great Barrier Reef 
The Australian Institute of Science paper claims 
the decline has been caused by a combination of 
rising sea surface temperatures and ocean 
Calcification refers to how much skeleton the coral forms each year.
When large amounts of carbon dioxide enter the 
seawater, the resulting chemical change reduces a 
marine organism's ability to form skeletons and 
protect itself against the environment.
Dr Lough said the evidence was alarming.
"It is cause for extreme concern that such 
changes are already evident, with the relatively 
modest climate changes observed to date," she 
Dr De'ath said according to the trends, coral 
would stop growing altogether by 2050 and be 
replaced by algae, to the detriment of 
biodiversity in the area.
"The data suggest that this severe and sudden 
decline in calcification is unprecedented in at 
least 400 years," he said.
The situation would create a devastating chain 
reaction for species in the area, Dr De'ath said.
"Algae will take over the area, small fish will 
lose their habitat, then the larger fish that eat 
the small fish will starve," he said.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said she was 
worried by increasing scientific evidence of the 
state of the reef.
The government has announced it will this year 
begin regulating chemical run-off from farming or 
agricultural activities into the reef for the 
first time.
"I know there is not a lot of farmers who are 
happy with my decision ... but we have a special 
responsibility to look after it, and 2009 will 
see new laws that will further protect the Great 
Barrier Reef," Ms Bligh said.
© 2009 AAP

Bottom line: Is the word is getting out? Guess it 
depends a lot on whose word and which "tipping 
points". Now what about those long nosed puffer 
fish? Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 

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