Archives par mot-clé : Corals

CRYING WOLF OVER THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

by Peter Ridd, August 12, 2019 in GWPF


The scare stories about the Great Barrier Reef started in the 1960’s when scientist first started work on the reef. They have been crying wolf ever since.

Scientists from James Cook University have just published a paper on the bleaching and death of corals on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and were surprised that the death rate was less than they expected because of the adaptability of corals to changing temperatures. It appears as though they exaggerated their original claims and are quietly backtracking. To misquote Oscar Wilde, to exaggerate once is a misfortune, to do it twice looks like carelessness, but to do it repeatedly looks like unforgivable systemic unreliability by some of our major science organisations.

It is a well-known phenomenon that corals can adapt very rapidly to high temperatures and that if you heat corals in one year, they tend to be less susceptible in future years to overheating. It is the reason why corals are one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change, irrespective of whether you believe the climate is changing by natural fluctuations or from human influence.

STRANGE CORAL SPAWNING IMPROVING GREAT BARRIER REEF’S RESILIENCE

by University of Queensland, August 7, 2019 in GWPF


The discovery was made by University of Queensland and CSIRO researchers investigating whether corals that split their spawning over multiple months are more successful at spreading their offspring across different reefs.

Dr Karlo Hock, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, said coral mass spawning events are one of the most spectacular events in the oceans.

“They’re incredibly beautiful,” Dr Hock said.

“On Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, all coral colonies typically spawn only once per year, over several nights after the full moon, as the water warms up in late spring.”

Study co-author Dr Christopher Doropoulos from the CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere said sometimes however, coral split their spawning over two successive months.

“This helps them synchronise their reproduction to the best environmental conditions and moon phases,” he said.

“While reproductive success during split spawning may be lower than usual because it can lead to reduced fertilisation, we found that the release of eggs in two separate smaller events gives the corals a second and improved chance of finding a new home reef.”

The research team brought together multi-disciplinary skills in modelling, coral biology, ecology, and oceanography, simulating the dispersal of coral larvae during these split spawning events, among the more than 3800 reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef.

Thirty years of unique data reveal what’s really killing coral reefs

by P. Homewood, July 24, 201 in NotatLotofPeopleKnowThat


Coral reefs are considered one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet and are dying at alarming rates around the world. Scientists attribute coral bleaching and ultimately massive coral death to a number of environmental stressors, in particular, warming water temperatures due to climate change.

A study published in the international journal Marine Biology, reveals what’s really killing coral reefs. With 30 years of unique data from Looe Key Reef in the lower Florida Keys, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and collaborators have discovered that the problem of coral bleaching is not just due to a warming planet, but also a planet that is simultaneously being enriched with reactive nitrogen from multiple sources.

Improperly treated sewage, fertilizers and top soil are elevating nitrogen levels, which are causing phosphorus starvation in the corals, reducing their temperature threshold for “bleaching.” These coral reefs were dying off long before they were impacted by rising water temperatures. This study represents the longest record of reactive nutrients and algae concentrations for coral reefs anywhere in the world.

“Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area during our long-term study,” said Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., senior author and a research professor at FAU’s Harbor Branch.

 

 

https://phys.org/news/2019-07-years-unique-reveal-coral-reefs.html

 

There is the usual armwaving about climate change, but no evidence is presented as to why a small increase in CO2 levels should have the slightest effect on water temperatures or coral development, when the climate has been much warmer for most of the period since the end of the ice age.

As is usually the case with environmental degradation and species decline, it is the obvious factors which are responsible.

What’s really killing the Coral Reefs?

by Carly Cassella, July 20, 2019 in WUWT


Coral reefs are one of the most threatened ecosystems on our planet, and in the past two decades alone, half of the coral in Florida has died off completely. Global warming is known to be a deadly factor, but rising ocean temperatures are only part of the story.

Thirty years of research in the Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area (LKSPA) on the southern tip of the Florida Keys has now revealed the cost of a devastating threat to coral that rivals even climate change: direct human pollution.

For years, agricultural run-off and improperly treated sewage have flowed into Florida’s ocean waters from the northern Everglades, elevating the sanctuary’s nitrogen levels and lowering the reef’s temperature threshold for bleaching, researchers say.

As a result of this deadly combination, coral cover in the region has declined from nearly 33 percent in 1984 to less than 6 percent in 2008.

In their analysis, the authors found that three mass bleaching events that occurred during these years only happened after heavy rainfall and increased land-based runoffs. In other words, if we can reduce the amount of local pollution that makes its way into our oceans, we might be able to reduce the worst of the damage.

Klein & Orlando, Bulletin of Marine Science, 1994

New Study Reveals True Cause Of Coral Bleaching (And It’s Not Global Warming)

by Brook Hays, July 16, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch


Corals are disappearing across the world’s oceans, and most scientists have pointed to warming water temperatures — the result of climate change — as the primary driver.

But new research suggests nitrogen pollution is the main cause of coral bleaching in Florida.

The study, published this week in the journal Marine Biology, was compiled using the three-decades worth of observational data collected at the Looe Key Reef in the lower Florida Keys.

“Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area,” lead study author Brian Lapointe, research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, said in a news release.

Data collected at the test site showed nutrient runoff has boosted the nitrogen-phosphorus ratio in reef algae.

As more and more treated sewage and fertilizers from commercial farms rinse into local waterways and flood the oceans with nutrients, including reactive nitrogen, corals are unable to absorb sufficient levels of phosphorous.

“Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area,” lead study author Brian Lapointe, research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, said in a news release.

Des coraux qui s’adaptent aux températures plus élevées

by Paul Berth, 31 mai 2019 in ScienceClimatEnergie


Selon certaines prédictions, basées sur des modèles informatiques, de nombreux récifs coralliens auront disparu des océans tropicaux au cours des 80 prochaines années[1]. La cause est bien évidemment le réchauffement climatique pouvant provoquer un blanchiment des coraux. Par exemple, en 2014–2017, a eu lieu un évènement global de blanchiment, le 3e au cours des 20 dernières années, et de nombreux coraux furent affectés sur des milliers de kilomètres carrés[2],[3]. Les médias, avides de catastrophisme, en ont beaucoup parlé avec des titres une fois de plus très alarmistes (exemple ici).

Cependant, les choses ne sont pas si simples. Des données satellitaires et des études de terrain ont montré que tous les récifs coralliens ne se comportent pas de la même manière: de nombreux récifs n’ont pas blanchi pendant le dernier épisode El Niño, une très grande partie des coraux a résisté au stress thermique, et de fortes variations locales et régionales ont été observées dans le blanchiment[4]. La relation entre température élevée de l’eau de mer et blanchiment des coraux n’est donc pas évidente. Afin d’éclaircir la situation une équipe américaine a récemment publié une analyse globale des évènements de stress thermique en considérant 3351 sites différents dans 81 pays (Sully et al. 2019, dans Nature Communications[5]). Cette analyse globale est unique et démontre que les coraux sont en train de s’adapter par sélection naturelle et sont désormais un peu plus résistants au blanchiment. Nous avons ici une belle démonstration du fait que les modèles informatiques sont parfois bien loin de la réalité de terrain et qu’il ne faut pas tirer de  conclusions toujours hâtives!

Impossible research produces 400-year El Niño record, revealing startling changes

by Charles the moderator, May 7, 2019 in WUWT


University of New South Wales

Melbourne: Australian scientists have developed an innovative method using cores drilled from coral to produce a world first 400-year long seasonal record of El Niño events, a record that many in the field had described as impossible to extract.

The record published today in Nature Geoscience detects different types of El Niño and shows the nature of El Niño events has changed in recent decades.

This understanding of El Niño events is vital because they produce extreme weather across the globe with particularly profound effects on precipitation and temperature extremes in Australia, South East Asia and the Americas.

The 400-year record revealed a clear change in El Niño types, with an increase of Central Pacific El Niño activity in the late 20th Century and suggested future changes to the strength of Eastern Pacific El Niños.

“We are seeing more El Niños forming in the central Pacific Ocean in recent decades, which is unusual across the past 400 years,” said lead author Dr Mandy Freund.

“There are even some early hints that the much stronger Eastern Pacific El Niños, like those that occurred in 1997/98 and 2015/16 may be growing in intensity.”

This extraordinary result was teased out of information about past climate from coral cores spanning the Pacific Ocean, as part of Dr Freund’s PhD research at the University of Melbourne and the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. It was made possible because coral cores – like tree rings – have centuries-long growth patterns and contain isotopes that can tell us a lot about the climate of the past. However, until now, they had not been used to detect the different types of El Niño events.

More Evidence for Rapid Coral Adaptation

by Jim Steele, April 2, 2019 in WUWT


Good news continues to accumulate regards corals’ ability to rapidly adjust to changing climates. The view of coral resilience has been dominated by the narrative of a few scientists. In the 1990s they advocated devastating consequences for coral reefs due to global warming, arguing coral cannot adapt quickly enough. Since the Little Ice Age ended, they believed rising ocean temperatures had brought coral closer to a “bleaching threshold”, a more or less fixed upper temperature limit above which corals cannot survive. Their model predicted the speed of recent global warming “spells catastrophe for tropical marine ecosystems everywhere”. Their assertions that “as much as 95% of the world’s coral may be in danger of being lost by mid-century” was guaranteed to capture headlines and instill public fear. However, a growing body of scientific research increasingly casts doubts on such alarming predictions. Unfortunately, that good news gets much less attention.

A recent peer-reviewed paper titled A Global Analysis of Coral Bleaching Over the Past Two Decades (Sully 2019) compared 20 years of ocean temperatures at which coral bleaching was initiated. From 1998 to 2006, the average sea surface temperature that initiated bleaching was 82.6 °F. But that temperature limit proves not to be “fixed” as earlier researchers incorrectly believed. From 2007 to 2017 the average temperature limit that initiated bleaching was higher, 83.7 °F. This indicates coral have been rapidly adapting to warmer regional climates much faster than once believed.

Coral Reefs in West Hawaiʽi Showing Signs of Recovery

by P. Homewood, February 21, 2019 NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat


Surveys identified 25 coral species in West Hawaiʻi. Lobe coral (Porites lobata), one of the area’s most dominant species, proved to be the most resilient—with only 50% bleaching in 2015. Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora meandrina) were hardest hit—with 98% bleaching—but recent surveys show that they are beginning to recover.

CORAL REEFS CAN TAKE THE HEAT, UNLIKE EXPERTS CRYING WOLF

by Peter Ridd, December 26, 2018 in GWPF


Scientists from James Cook University have just published a paper on the bleaching and death of corals on the Great Barrier Reef and were surprised that the death rate was less than they expected, because of the adaptability of corals to changing temperatures.

It appears as though they exaggerated their original claims and are quietly backtracking.

To misquote Oscar Wilde, to exaggerate once is a misfortune, to do it twice looks careless, but to do it repeatedly looks like unforgivable systemic unreliability by some of our major science organisations.

The very rapid adaptation of corals to high temperatures is a well-known phenomenon; besides, if you heat corals in a given year, they tend to be less susceptible in the future to overheating. This is why corals are one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change, irrespective of whether you believe the climate is changing by natural fluctuations or because of human influence.

Corals have a unique way of dealing with changing temperature, by changing the microscopic plants that live inside them. These microscopic plants, called zooxanthellae, give the coral energy from the sun through photosynthesis in exchange for a comfortable home inside the coral. When the water gets hot, these little plants effectively become poisonous to the coral and the coral throws them out, which turns the coral white — that is, it bleaches.

 

Thriving reef fisheries continue to provide food despite coral bleaching

by Lancaster University, November 29, 2018 in ScienceDaily/Nature


The unexpected results of a 20-year study into reef fisheries published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution this week showed fisheries being maintained despite extreme coral bleaching. Remarkably, rapid proliferation of fishes with low dependence on corals led to catches remaining stable or even increasing.

But the results also showed fishing success was ‘patchy’ and more dependent on fewer species.

Around six million people fish on coral reefs. Each year their catch — estimated to be between 1.4 and 4.2 million tonnes — provides a critical source of food and income for many millions more.

Coral Adaptation and Epigenetics

by Rud Itsvan, November 17, 2018 in WUWT


WUWT has posted several excellent articles by Jim Steele on how global warming alarmism uses corals as the poster child for warming and acidifying oceans, none of which is scientifically justified. A brief review follows, calling attention to a recently discovered additional adaptation mechanism not covered AFAIK by Jim Steele’s posts. The motivation for this post was triggered by a recent lunch with newish neighbor Charles the Moderator (CtM), and his sharing many wonderful underwater photographs of the coral reef he now dives frequently off Pompano Beach (same reef system as off Fort Lauderdale, just a few miles further north and more conveniently onshore).

Proof that Corals are Adapting to Warming Temperatures

by Coles et al., November, 11,  2018 in CO2Science


In light of the above findings, Coles et al. state the obvious, that the corals “were able to withstand elevated temperatures (31.4 °C) for a longer period of time in the current 2017 experiment” compared to the 1970 study. Consequently, they conclude that their results “indicate a shift in the temperature threshold tolerance of these corals to a 31-day exposure to 31.4 °C,” which findings “provide the first evidence of coral acclimatization or adaptation to increasing ocean temperatures.” And that observational reality should hold great bearing on the status and health of coral reefs in response to future climate change. If temperatures rise in the future, clearly, as living organisms, corals can (and do!) adapt. Alarmist predictions of their fast and ensuing demise due to global warming should not be taken too seriously.

Large stretches of coral reefs can be rehabilitated

by University of California – Davis, September 27, 2018 in ScienceDaily


For the study, published this week in the journal Restoration Ecology, researchers installed 11,000 small, hexagonal structures called “spiders” across 5 acres of reef in the center of Indonesia’s Coral Triangle. Coral diversity is the highest on Earth in that region but is threatened by human activity, including overfishing, pollution and climate change.

Between 2013 and 2015, researchers attached coral fragments to the structures, which also stabilized rubble and allowed for water to flow through freely.

A CORAL SUCCESS STORY

Live coral cover on the structures increased from less than 10 percent to more than 60 percent. This was more than what was reported for reefs in many other areas of the Coral Triangle, at a cost of about $25 per square meter.

Les coraux blanchissent depuis très longtemps

by Prof. Dr. Paul Berth, 5  septembre 2018, in ScienceClimatEnergie


Le blanchissement des coraux est un phénomène dont on entend souvent parler dans les médias. Il s’agirait d’un grave problème environnemental, dont la fréquence augmente, et qui pourrait mener à la perte totale des récifs coralliens. Le réchauffement climatique global, qui serait causé par l’augmentation de la concentration atmosphérique en CO2 est, bien entendu, pointé du doigt. Cependant, le blanchissement des coraux n’est-il pas un phénomène très ancien? Est-il seulement causé par des variations de température? Quel recul avons-nous à ce sujet? Une récente publication de Nicholas Kamenos et Sebastian Hennige, deux chercheurs anglais des Universités de Glasgow et d’Édimbourg, apporte de nouveaux éléments.