Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Kids range

Dredging activity near corals can increase frequency of diseases

by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies on 20 Jul 2014
.. ©
In a world-first study published on July 17th, researchers say dredging activity near coral reefs can increase the frequency of diseases affecting corals.

'At dredging sites, we found more than twice as much coral disease than at our control sites,' says the lead author of the study, Joe Pollock, a PhD candidate from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

'Corals require both light and food to survive,' Pollock explains. 'And unfortunately, dredging impacts corals on two fronts: increased turbidity means less light for photosynthesis, while increased levels of sediment falling onto the coral can interfere with their ability to feed.'

Already low on energy, the corals then must spend further energy cleaning the extra sediment from their surface. Such an energy imbalance can lead to chronic coral stress.

'Just like in any other organism, it seems that chronic stress can lead to increased levels of disease in corals,' Pollock says.

In the past 20 years, the frequency of coral disease has risen across the world, and has become a significant factor in global coral reef decline. In the Caribbean, disease has diminished coral cover by as much as 95 percent in some locations.

This is the first study to examine the link between dredging and coral disease in nature. It was conducted near Barrow Island, off the West Australian coast. The site is close to where an 18-month, 7-million cubic metre dredging project took place, developing a channel to accommodate ships transporting liquefied gas to a nearby processing plant. The site was in otherwise very good condition.

The most common diseases affecting corals after dredging events are the ‘white syndromes’, where the coral tissues fall off, leaving behind exposed, white coral skeletons. These coral diseases are chronic, and there are fears that they may linger well after the completion of dredging operations.

Dr Britta Schaffelke from AIMS, a co-author on the study, says numerous environmental stressors have been suggested as potential drivers of coral disease.


'Turbidity and sedimentation are critical pressures on the health of coral reefs and are affected by many human activities, especially in the coastal zone,' Schaffelke says.

'What this study does is highlight a direct link of coral disease to sedimentation and turbidity.'

Coastal industries provide economic stability, food security and reliable energy to billions of people around the world. As the pace of coastal development and demand for larger harbours escalates, the impact of elevated sediment and turbidity on the health of marine species is now a worldwide concern. 'Dredging is a pressing issue on many coral reefs throughout the world, including the Great Barrier Reef,' says Pollock.

'A solid understanding of the impacts of dredging, sediment and turbidity on coral health will be indispensable in the development of well-informed management and monitoring strategies for vulnerable coral reef ecosystems,' he concludes.

Paper: Sediment and turbidity associated with offshore dredging increase coral disease prevalence on nearby reefs by Frederic Joseph Pollock, Joleah B Lamb, Stuart N Field, Scott F Heron, Britta Schaffelke, George Shedrawi, David G Bourne and Bette L Willis appears in PLoS ONE: here.

http://www.coralcoe.org.au/" target="_blank">ARC website

Wildwind 2016 660x82Barz Optics - Melanin LensesHamilton Island Luxury

Related Articles

WHO statement on Zika virus
The third meeting of the EC convened by the Director-General under IHR 2005 regarding microcephaly and Zika virus The third meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) regarding microcephaly, other neurological disorders and Zika virus was held by teleconference on 14 June 2016, from 13:00 to 17:15 Central European Time.
Posted on 16 Jun
Zika virus situation report
From 1 January 2007 to 16 March 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 59 countries and territories. From 1 January 2007 to 16 March 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 59 countries and territories. Cuba and Dominica are the latest to report autochthonous (local) transmission of Zika virus on 14 and 15 March, respectively. Five of these countries and territories reported a Zika virus outbreak that is now over.
Posted on 2 Apr
Cyclone Winston Relief Fund – Help the people of Fiji
Sea Mercy is sending volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food and medical supplies to Fiji. Sea Mercy is once again sending our volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food, water and medical supplies and teams to Fiji.
Posted on 27 Feb
Land Rover BAR partners with Seabin to clean the oceans + Video
Recent research shows that between 5m and 12m tonnes of plastic find their way into the ocean every year. Recent research shows that between 5m and 12m tonnes of plastic find their way into the ocean every year. This is adding rapidly to the five trillion pieces - weighing around 270,000 tonnes - that are calculated to already be polluting the world's seas and oceans. Some estimates show that by 2050 the weight of plastic is likely to outweigh that of fish.
Posted on 23 Feb
Eco-warriors Sea-Bin crowd sharing critical stage with nine days to go
The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised 86% of their target with 9 days left. The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised $198,020 of $230,000.00 with nine days left on their Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, but they need more help now.
Posted on 29 Dec 2015
Don’t be a Tosser – Not your usual environmental article!!
The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. There is no need for me to tell you the other meaning that is commonly used around the world. However in this article it will refer to both at the same time as someone who tosses trash into the ocean, truly is a tosser.
Posted on 3 Dec 2015
Warming ocean worsened Australia’s fatal 2010/2011 floods
Researchers shows that warming of Indian and Pacific oceans played a role in increasing the risk of floods in 2010/2011 A study by a team of U.S. and Australian researchers shows that long-term warming of the Indian and Pacific oceans played an important role in increasing the risk of the kind of devastating floods that struck Australia in 2010/2011.
Posted on 21 Nov 2015
Pay attention, YOU can make a difference to the marine environment!!
THIS is a life exam subject and when you reach the Pearly Gates, your results today will count towards your destination OK, Sit up and pay attention, THIS is a life exam subject and when you reach the Pearly Gates, your results today will count towards your final destination
Posted on 16 Nov 2015
Friends of the sea launch Seabin street waste solution
Andy Turton and Peter Ceglinski have developed the Seabin to capture street rubbish that constantly gathers around boats Australian professional big-boat sailor Andy Turton and boat-builder Peter Ceglinski have a solution to this world-wide problem that impacts on every marine community. They have developed the Seabin which is designed to capture street rubbish that constantly gathers around boats, pontoons and marinas
Posted on 7 Nov 2015
Aquece Rio 2015 test event Interim report from Dr Nebojsa Nikolic
Aquece Rio 2015 – ISAF is taking seriously the potential dangers to our Sports Person’s health. Aquece Rio 2015 – ISAF is taking seriously the potential dangers to our Sports Person’s health. By the nature of our sport, the ‘field of play’ can differ greatly from their home environment and can have a decisive influence on the final success in the competition. Major environmental changes can strongly influence not only Sports Person’s fitness abilities, but also their health.
Posted on 5 Nov 2015