Archives par mot-clé : Florida

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.