Seasonal seas may help coral reefs survive global warmingNovember 30th, 2007 - 2:27 pm ICT by admin
Washington, Nov 30 (ANI): A new study has found that corals might survive rising ocean temperatures in tough love seas with wide-ranging temperatures.
Coral reefs are composed of tiny creatures that live in colonies in mostly tropical and subtropical waters. Corals are home to beneficial algae, which gives reefs their stunning colors. During prolonged, unusually high surface temperatures, many coral species bleach, discharging the algae and leaving the reefs white and sickly.
The eight-year study on the reefs of East Africa, led by Dr. Tim McClanahan, Senior Scientist working for Wildlife Conservation Societys Coral Reef Programs, found that corals living in variable temperatures were better able to survive warmer seas due to climate change.
In the study, the researchers examined temperature variations and coral bleaching events off the coast of East Africa between the years of 1998 and 2005.
The analysis found that coral reefs in sites with varying seasonal temperatures were more likely to survive the hot pulses of climate change.
On the other hand, reefs living in environments with stable but higher temperatures were more susceptible to bleaching, a global phenomenon where beneficial algae are evicted by corals, ultimately leading to the reefs demise.
This finding is a ray of hope in a growing sea of coral bleaching events and threatened marine wildlife, said McClanahan.
With rising surface temperatures threatening reef systems globally, these sites serve as high diversity refuges for corals trying to survive, he said.
Through the study, the researchers also discovered that the coral reefs in sites with the most temperature variation were in the shadow of islands, protected from the oceanic currents that reduce temperature variations in reef ecosystems.
According to the researchers, the results of the study suggest that corals in these locations are better adapted to environmental variation. Consequently, they are more likely to survive dramatic increases in temperature.
The findings are encouraging in the fact that at least some corals and reef locations will survive the warmer surface temperatures to come. They also show us where we should direct our conservation efforts the most by giving these areas our highest priority for conservation, McClanahan said.
The study will appear in the journal Ecological Monographs. (ANI)
- 'Stress test' to identify 'reefs of hope' in climate change era - Mar 23, 2011
- Study finds how sea urchins affect coral reefs' growth - Jan 15, 2011
- Some corals unfazed by global warming - Mar 13, 2012
- 2010 saw massive coral bleaching in Andamans - Jan 16, 2011
- Warming casts shadow over survival of coral reefs - Sep 17, 2012
- Diversity in corals affects their susceptibility to temperature change - May 05, 2010
- 'Super reefs' near East Africa can fend off climate change - Apr 24, 2009
- Indian Ocean climate event occurring more frequently due to global warming - Jan 03, 2010
- Warming climate damaging reefs, impacting fish - Jul 11, 2012
- 75 percent of world's coral reefs under threat: report - Feb 24, 2011
- Coral bleaching will go from bad to worse in 2010: Study - Nov 20, 2010
- Unusual corals likely to survive global warming - Feb 22, 2010
- More warm, acidic oceans will require greater reef care - Feb 15, 2011
- Soaring temps lead to mass coral killing in Indonesia: Study - Aug 17, 2010
- Banning certain fishing gear can help save world's coral reefs from climate change - Jun 18, 2009
Tags: algae, beneficial, climate change, coral bleaching, coral reef, coral reefs, coral species, corals, east africa, mcclanahan, ocean temperatures, oceanic currents, reef ecosystems, reef systems, seasonal temperatures, stunning colors, surface temperatures, temperature variations, tough love, variable temperatures