Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Coral reefs in Indo-Pacific Ocean tougher than Caribbean reefs

by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies on 16 Jul 2012
Our coral reefs: In trouble - but tougher than we thought George Roff
Leading marine scientists have said that Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef, recover faster from major stresses than their Caribbean counterparts.

Dr George Roff and Professor Peter Mumby from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland told the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns that coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean are naturally tougher than the Caribbean reefs.

'The main reason that Indo-Pacific reefs are more resilient is they have less seaweed than the Caribbean Sea,' Dr Roff says. 'Seaweed and corals are age-old competitors in the battle for space. When seaweed growth rates are lower, such as the Indo-Pacific region, the reefs recover faster from setbacks. This provides coral with a competitive advantage over seaweed, and our study suggests that these reefs would have to be heavily degraded for seaweeds to take over.

'This doesn’t mean that we can be complacent – reefs around the world are still heavily threatened by climate change and human activities,' he says. 'What it indicates is Indo-Pacific reefs will respond better to protection, and steps we take to keep them healthy have a better chance of succeeding.'

'Many of the doom and gloom stories have emanated from the Caribbean, which has deteriorated rapidly in the last 30 years,' says Professor Mumby. 'We now appreciate that the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean are far more different than we thought.'

The study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE), includes survey data Indo-Pacific region and Caribbean reefs from 1965 to 2010.

The researchers also found that seaweeds in Indo-Pacific region bloom four times more slowly than those in the Caribbean.

'We’re not sure why this happens, but a plausible theory is that Caribbean waters are highly enriched in iron,' they say. 'For thousands of years, the Caribbean Sea has received dusts that blow across the Atlantic from the Sahara, and the dust contains iron – an essential element for algae to grow.

'This suggests that the difference between the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean oceans and their coral reefs is fundamental, and occurs at a very large scale.

'Another factor that protects these reefs is the abundance of herbivorous fish, such as surgeon and parrotfish that treat seaweed as a delicacy. The Indo-Pacific region has a lot of these fishes.

'For instance, the Indo-Pacific region has 70 species and six genera of parrotfish, while the Caribbean only has 13 species and two genera of the fish.'

While the findings indicate a brighter future for the Indo-Pacific reefs, nations such as Australia will need to maintain vigilant protection of the ocean, the researchers warn.

'All reefs face an uncertain future, particularly in places with lots of human activities,' they say. 'We still need to curb the overfishing of herbivorous fish, as they are very sought after in the Pacific. We also need to control the level of nutrients in the water and prevent runoff when necessary.

'The good news is that our Indo-Pacific reefs are tougher than we thought – we just need to make sure that our actions won’t destroy their natural resilience.'

The researchers presented their paper 'Global disparity in the resilience of coral reefs' on Thursday 12 July 2012 in Cairns Convention Centre (Hall D).





ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies website

Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearBakewell-White Yacht DesignInSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr