UN urges coral reef action

A new United Nations report urges a global partnership, backed by commitment and resources, to tackle the threats posed to coral reefs by climate change, including damage from increasingly severe tropical cyclones and ocean acidification.

Read about the report in Web Newswire

Read the full report

Review of coral-bacterial relationship

A review article discussing the importance of associations between microorganisms and their invertebrate coral hosts has recently been published. The study of coral–bacteria interactions is an emerging field, driven by the necessity to understand the microbial relationships that both maximize coral health and cause coral disease.

Mouchka, M. E., Hewson, I., & Harvell, C. D., 2010. Coral-associated bacterial assemblages: Current knowledge and the potential for climate-driven impacts. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50(4): 662-674.

Read the abstract (subscription required to see full article).

Asia event worst since 1998

International marine scientists say that a catastrophic bleaching event which has struck Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean reefs over recent months could be the worst such event since 1998. Coral coverage in the area could drop from 50% to 10% and may take years to recover.

See Full Article in Science Daily.

Coral loss causes poverty

Coral reef loss provides a clear link to human poverty, conservationists argued at the recent Millennium Development Goals session at UN HQ.

Read a BBC News report.

Algal blooms decimate reefs

The large scale bloom that occured in the Gulf of Oman in Oct / Nov 2008 has now been shown to have caused widescale damage to corals in the area. Harmful algal blooms, often linked to human pollution and agricultural run-off, are predicted to rise significantly in coming years and pose a serious threat to fragile coral ecosystems. A recent report in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, entitled: “Tropical harmful algal blooms: An emerging threat to coral reef communities?” discusses details.
Read the original report (requires subscription to journal).

Scuba fees save reefs

A recent report by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington discuss how scuba divers, diving in marine protected areas (MPAs) can contribute to the costs of maintaining the MPAs. The report is entitled: “The role of SCUBA diver user fees as a source of sustainable funding for coral reef marine Protected areas.”

This report highlights the fact that in most most cases, no contribution is made by divers towards the maintenance of the areas in which they dive. This is despite a willingness on the part of divers to help. Additionally, dive tourism can generate employment & significant income within local communities. They discuss in details amounts that could be charged as well as going into cost / benefit analysis.

So are we all missing a trick?

Read the full report.

Sponge wars

It’s seaweed vs. sponge in battle for dying coral reefs.

The spread of a large sponge species could provide a buffer to the dramatic decline of corals on reefs in the Florida Keys and Caribbean, scientists say.

“There’s a turf war going on under the warm waters off the Florida Keys, a battle for no less than dominance of dying coral reef tracts.”

Read the Full Article in the Miami Herald.

10 new coral species

Scientists returning from a 30-day research expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands found what they believe are 10 new species of coral.

Read the Full Article by The Associated Press.

Coral vanishing faster than rainforest

Coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans are dying off much quicker than previously thought, a new study shows. For the last two decades, Indo-Pacific reefs have shrunk by 1 percent each year—a loss equivalent to nearly 600 square miles (1,553 square kilometers). That makes the rate of reef loss about twice the rate of tropical rain forest loss. The research also revealed that the decline began in the late 1960s—much earlier than had been assumed.

Read the Full Article in National Geographic

The Alchemy