[Coral-List] New approach identifies corals more likely to survive climate change
easy501 at zianet.com
Wed Dec 1 12:40:57 EST 2010
Do you think it is the coral, or the symbiotic algae that is killed by high
temperatures? Could an experiment be structured to determine which it is
for affected species? If it is algae that is heat tolerant, would it be
possible to "cross pollinate" at other locations when bleaching is first
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Mark Eakin
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 8:54 AM
To: Coral Listserver Listserver
Subject: [Coral-List] New approach identifies corals more likely to survive
For a bit of bright news instead of the usual drumbeat of climate change
impacts on coral reefs, a new paper has just come out that looks at a new
approach to identify reefs more likely to survive in a changing climate --
if we protect the reefs from other forms of stress.
The paper, "Reserve design for uncertain responses of coral reefs to
climate change", was just published in Ecology Letters. It uses NOAA
satellite data and models of larval connectivity to design marine reserves
best suited for future climate change. This approach provides a tool that
planners and managers can use when considering different coral reefs for
protection against local threats.
"This new approach provides a tool that allows coral reef ecosystem
stakeholders to prepare for climates of the future" says paper co-author Dr.
C. Mark Eakin, Coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch. "Resource managers
can now identify reefs that are more likely to survive climate change if we
protect them from other threats like land-based pollutants and overfishing."
This work was supported, in part, by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation
Program (coralreef.noaa.gov), as well as the Coral Reef Targeted Research &
Capacity Building for Management program, which is funded by the Global
Environment Facility and the World Bank (www.gefcoral.org).
The release follows and is available online at:
The paper can be accessed at:
Location! Location! Location!
Some coral reefs less vulnerable to rising sea temperatures
New research highlighting coastal locations where coral can better
withstand rising sea temperatures, a leading cause of stress to coral reefs,
may guide efforts to conserve the largest living structures on Earth.
The findings hold promise for an estimated 100 million people living along
the coasts of tropical developing countries whose livelihoods and welfare
depend directly on coral reefs, but are currently under threat from climate
In a report published in an online edition of Ecology Letters today,
scientists from Australia, the UK, Mexico and the US, mapped coral stress
across the Bahamas in the Caribbean and found that sea temperatures, which
strongly influence coral health, caused less stress to reefs in certain
This discovery was borne out in the second half of the study, during which
the researchers designed marine reserves best-suited to four possible
scenarios of how coral would respond to further sea temperature rises. In
each hypothetical scenario, 15 per cent of the locations in the Bahamas were
While the studys lead author, Professor Peter J. Mumby, from The
University of Queenslands Global Change Institute and the School of
Biological Sciences says the research complicates current understanding of
marine reserve design, the findings can help make the best use of the
limited resources available for coral reef conservation.
Designing marine reserves for the long-term is more difficult than we
thought, Prof. Mumby says. The responses of coral to the impacts of
climate change are relatively unknown at this stage. Yet the good news is
that some geographic locations were consistently selected in the generated
scenarios, regardless of how corals might adapt to warmer temperatures.
These areas are great contenders for early conservation no matter what the
future holds. Prof Mumby adds that, The research found good locations for
protecting corals and we are providing this information to conservation
partners in the Bahamas to help them in their efforts to work with local
communities and establish new reserves.
Prof. Mumby says the response of coral to climate change is an ongoing focus
for scientists and conservation advice will be updated regularly to reflect
new research findings.
Prof. Mumby says the worlds oceans are becoming warmer due to the
increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the
burning of fossil fuels. A rise in sea temperature by as little as 1°C
causes stress to corals and can lead to coral bleaching, where corals lose
their internal symbiotic algae that help them grow, and may result in vast
areas of dead coral.
Scientists expect that warming sea temperatures could cause coral to die in
large numbers. The destruction of coral reef ecosystems will expose people
in coastal areas of developing countries to flooding, coastal erosion and
the loss of food and income from reef-based fisheries and tourism.
The project was funded by the Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity
Building for Management (CRTR) Program, Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans
Foundation, National Environment Research Council, European Space Agency and
the EU Seventh Framework Programme.
About the CRTR
The CRTR is a leading international coral reef research initiative that
provides a coordinated approach to credible, factual and scientifically
proven knowledge for improved coral reef management.
The CRTR Program is a partnership between the Global Environment Facility,
the World Bank, The University of Queensland (Australia), the United States
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and approximately 40
research institutes and other third-parties around the world.
About the Global Change Institute
The Global Change Institute at UQ, Brisbane, Australia, investigates
complex, interconnected, large-scale global issues in innovative ways, in
order to contribute evidence-based, progressive solutions to the major
problems of a rapidly-changing world.
The Global Change Institute is a vehicle for collaborative research,
learning, engagement and advocacy. It seeks to partner with third-parties
and achieve multi-disciplinary, integrated solutions to global change issues
within the existing and projected frameworks of those problems: political,
environmental, social, economic and technological.
Professor Peter J. Mumby
ARC Laureate Fellow, Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation
School of Biological Sciences & Global Change Institute
University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane Qld 4072 Australia
p.j.mumby at uq.edu.au Tel: +61 7 3365 1686 Mob: +61 449 811 589 Skype:
www.marinespatialecologylab.org , Free video clips of coral reefs:
Media: Robert Mackay-Wood, Communications Manager, Global Change Institute
(r.mackaywood at uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 9041 or +61 410 491 159)
C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
E/RA31, SSMC1, Room 5308
1335 East West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226
301-713-2857 x109 Fax: 301-713-3136
"Together, we must confront climate change by ending the world's dependence
on fossil fuels, by tapping the power of new sources of energy like the wind
and sun, and calling upon all nations to do their part. And I pledge to you
that in this global effort, the United States is now ready to lead."
President Barack Obama, Apr. 5 2009
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