Coral rescue in India

The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) along with the forest department and Tata Chemical Limited are carrying out a coral rescue programme in Mithapur, Jamnagar. They are trying to restore corals overturned due to wave damage and anthropogenic activities.

So far, around 200 colonies of coral reefs have been rescued. The third phase of the programme was carried out in July with 22 volunteers including the employees of Tata and two local fishermen. Well done WTI!!

Read the full article at dnaindia.com.

New brittlestar in Atlantic

A new species of Brittle Star (Ophiothela mirabilis) has been sited on coral reefs close to ports in Brazil and the Caribbean.

Until recently this brittle star was only found in the Pacific Ocean, leading researchers to believe that this invasive species has been transported into Atlantic waters in the ballast water of cargo vessels. It is too early to be certain of the potential impacts the introduction of this species will have on Atlantic coral reefs. It is likely, however, following similar introductions of invasive species in the past, to have a major ecological impact on Atlantic coral reef communities.

To read the original article, click here.

To read an overview and commentary at Sciencedaily.com, click here.

 

P.S. This image is of a crown of thorns and not a brittlestar. GRP does not yet have an image of the invasive critter!

Electric Reefs

A bizarre experiment in marine conservation rests on the ocean floor off Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

An electrified artificial reef, powered by solar panels on buoys, went into operation in June, in an attempt to bolster the biologically and economically critical coral reefs of southeast Florida. And early reports say oysters, algae and various fish species have established themselves among the electrified structures.

Read the article in Fort Lauderdales’s Sun Sentinel.

Wanted: change of lifestyle

It’s one thing for consumers to know intellectually that our gas-guzzling, polluting ways are taking their toll on the planet. It’s another thing to connect all the dots in terms of actions and consequences. Yet, even as we continue to drive SUVs and convert wilderness areas into housing developments, we hold out hope that the environment will rebound.

Unfortunately, for coral reefs, it’s going to take a lot more than hope, says Todd LaJeunesse, assistant professor of biology at Penn State.

Coral reefs are suffering from overfishing and other types of resource exploitation, LaJeunesse explains. In addition, they are being degraded by pollution from sewage and agricultural runoff, and by increasing sea-surface temperatures and acidification as a result of global warming.

Read the remainder of this article at http://www.laboratoryequipment.com.

 

Is it too late for reefs?

Overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution are pushing coral reefs into oblivion. Each of those forces alone is fully capable of causing the global collapse of coral reefs; together, they assure it. The scientific evidence for this is compelling and unequivocal, but there seems to be a collective reluctance to accept the logical conclusion — that there is no hope of saving the global coral reef ecosystem. And what does a return to a world without coral reefs look like? The environmental & economic fallout will be incalculable.

Read more in an insightful article published in the New York Times on the 13th of July 2012.

Sea rise clouds water

Researchers believe that accelerating sea-level rises associated with global climate change will affect sedimentary processes on coral reefs and other shoreline environments by increasing energy and sediment resuspension. On reefs, sedimentation is known to increase coral stress and bleaching as particles that settle on coral surfaces interfere with photosynthesis and feeding, and turbidity induced by suspended sediment reduces incident light levels.

Read the report in the Journal of Coastal Research (subscription required to view full article).

Climate change brings irreversible devastation

Evidence of rapid climate change abounds in scientific research and routine observations. Yet policymakers are slow to act. Legislators and researchers attending international gatherings such as the 10th Conference of Parties for the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan label climate change a “threat,” yet cannot agree to call for international agreements or action. Meanwhile climate change takes its toll on rich marine habitats like coral reefs, not just with rising temperatures but also increasing absorption rates of carbon dioxide. The reefs serve as habitat for nearly a quarter of the globe’s marine fish species, many of which struggle to adapt to acidification and fast-changing conditions. Early and careful management could help coral-reef ecosystems recover from bleaching events and prevent the loss of global biodiversity now underway. Paralysis to act brings doomsday closer for many species.

Read the full report in Yale Global Online.

Caymans expand protection

A new research project has been launched with the goal of increasing the amount of Cayman’s marine habitat under official protection. Currently only 17% of the islands’ shelf is designated as a marine park. The hope now is to set aside a further 30% of the surrounding marine environment for protection.

Read the full story in the Cayman News Service

Surprising find in deep corals

Scientists at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) examined 14 black coral species collected between 10 and 396 meters around Hawai’i. Surprisingly 71% of the species examined were found to contain photosynthetic algae, even at depths approaching 400 meters. The penetration of sunlight at depths over 100 meters is extremely poor. The question therefore is what are these algae doing down there?

Find out more.

Corals worth $172 bn

Nature and the services it provides are worth trillions of dollars annually to human society, and governments and businesses must formally recognise this to halt the continuing degradation of the natural world, a groundbreaking UN report said yesterday.

The enormous economic value of forests, freshwater, soils and coral reefs, as well as the social and economic consequences of their loss, must be factored into political and economic policies in all countries, according to the new study by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. It suggests, for example, that the value of human welfare benefits provided by coral reefs is between $30bn (£19bn) and $172bn annually.

Read an article in The Independant