Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Biologists alarmed as data confirm corals decline
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Jan 29, 2013

Coral reefs in the Caribbean are producing less than half of the key ingredient that makes their calcium skeleton compared to pre-industrial times, scientists said on Tuesday, describing the findings as "extremely alarming."

The amount of new calcium carbonate being added by coral reefs is at least half, and in some places 70 percent lower, than it was thousands of years ago.

Biologists have long sounded the alarm for reef-building corals, on which nearly half a billion people depend for their livelihood from fishing and tourism.

Previous research has estimated that coral cover is declining by as much as two percent per year in parts of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. In the Caribbean, cover has shrunk by around 80 percent on average since the mid-1970s.

According to a June 2012 update of the "Red List" compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 33 percent of reef-building corals are at risk of extinction.

Habitat destruction, pollution and more recently global warming are the factors blamed in the decline.

But data which compares today's trends with the pre-industrial past is sketchy.

Calcium carbonate is secreted by polyps, the tiny animals that live symbiotically with coral. Patiently accumulated, it provides the structure that enables coral to grow vertically.

A multinational team led by Exeter University in southwestern England measured ancient corals at 19 sites in the Bahamas; Belize; Grand Cayman, which is part of the Cayman Islands; and Bonaire, a Dutch territory in the Leeward Antilles islands.

Their study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that in shallow waters of around five metres (16.25 feet) in depth, reef growth rates today were between 60 and 70 percent lower compared to the regional averages of the distant past.

The fall was smaller -- around 25 percent -- in deeper waters of around 10 metres (32.5 feet).

Many reefs may have lost their ability to produce enough carbonate to grow vertically, according to the study. Some are already below the threshold by which enough carbonate is produced to maintain the skeletal reef structure, and thus are at risk of erosion.

The estimates "are extremely alarming," said Chris Petty, an Exeter University professor.

"Our findings clearly show that recent ecological declines are now suppressing the growth potential of reefs in the region, and that this will have major implications for their ability to respond positively to future sea-level rises."


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

US backs adding teeth to global shark protection
United Nations (AFP) Jan 25, 2013
The United States said Friday it would support proposals to curb the trade of five shark species and manta rays, whose numbers are declining because of demand for fins and gills. "For several decades, we have been increasingly concerned about the over harvest of sharks and manta rays," US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a meeting at the United Nations, according to a stat ... read more

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Mission would drag asteroid to the moon

Is there life on Mars?

Opportunity At Work At Whitewater Lake

Thawing Dry Ice Drives Groovy Action On Mars

Mars Rover Curiosity Uses Arm Camera at Night

How to predict the future of technology

Iran Manufacturing Hi-Tech Spacesuits

TDRS-K Offers Upgrade to Vital Communications Net

An Astronaut's Guide

Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

NASA to Send Inflatable Pod to International Space Station

ISS to get inflatable module

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Competition Hopes To Fine Tune ISS Solar Array Shadowing

First Ariane 5 For 2013 Ready For Loading

Azerspace And Africasat-1a "fit" for Ariane 5 launch

NASA Selects Experimental Commercial Suborbital Flight Payloads

Payload elements come together in Starsem's wrap-up Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome for Globalstar

New Evidence Indicates Auroras Occur Outside Our Solar System

Glitch has space telescope shut down

Earth-size planets common in galaxy

NASA's Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit For Fomalhaut B

Supercomputer sets computing record

New information on binding gold particles over metal oxide surfaces

Researchers Create Method for More Sensitive Electrochemical Sensors

Phoenix Rising: New Video Shows Advances in Satellite Repurposing Program

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement