Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coral Stress 'Like Never In History'

Date:
December 13, 2006
Source:
James Cook University
Summary:
Large scale coral die-offs are now occurring more frequently than at any time in the last 11 000 years, according to a new study by Australian-based scientists. Investigations by Associate Professor John Pandolfi, of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies and the University of Queensland, of fossilized reefs in Papua New Guinea show how often the reefs were "wiped out" by disastrous events in past times.

Large scale coral die-offs are now occurring more frequently than at any time in the last 11 000 years, according to a new study by Australian-based scientists.

Related Articles


Investigations by Associate Professor John Pandolfi, of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland, of fossilized reefs in Papua New Guinea show how often the reefs were ‘wiped out’ by disastrous events in past times.

“What we found was in stark contrast to what we see in the modern day,” says A/Prof Pandolfi. “The frequency of reef [die-off] events in the fossils is at least an order of magnitude less than it is today,” he says.

Studying the fossil reefs of the Huon Peninsula, which are now cliff faces rising up to 25 metres above the beach, A/Prof. Pandolfi and his team were able to see where large scale disturbances had occurred in the history of these reefs which dated back as far as 11 000 years ago.

“The sequence of fossils is like a three dimensional movie of what happened in the reefs’ past,” says Pandolfi. 

Over the 6000 years recorded in the fossil strata the team found 4 devastating events which resulted in the death of most of the reef – indicating such events had occurred about once every 1500 years.

“The cause of some of these events was volcanic, but others may have been due to bleaching, disease, or something else - we just don’t know. Regardless, what is clear is that the frequency of die-off was so much lower than it is today,” says Pandolfi of his findings.

The results, published in the scientific journal ‘Geology’, sound a warning bell to modern day reef management practices as today’s reefs face more stress than ever.

But while the ancient reefs warn that we are seeing abnormal die-off rates, they also show that the reefs of the past recovered rapidly after these events, taking as little as 100 years to be repopulated by the corals that normally occurred there.

Although they are struck by more high impact events, some of today’s reefs are still proving to be able to ‘bounce back’ to good health – with a little help.

“The recovery of the Great Barrier Reef from the devastating impact of the crown of thorns starfish took less than a few decades, at least in part due to comprehensive reef management,” says Pandolfi,”…but this rate of recovery isn’t seen in other parts of the world….some reefs still haven’t recovered from [events in the last century],” he says.

With the help of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, A/Prof. Pandolfi plans to continue studying fossil coral reefs around the world in order to help build a bigger picture of how the world’s reefs have survived devastation in the past – so that managers can help them continue to survive into the future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by James Cook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

James Cook University. "Coral Stress 'Like Never In History'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061213104208.htm>.
James Cook University. (2006, December 13). Coral Stress 'Like Never In History'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061213104208.htm
James Cook University. "Coral Stress 'Like Never In History'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061213104208.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Newsy (Jan. 27, 2015) — The Food and Agriculture Organization says millions could face famine in Madagascar without more funding to finish locust eradication efforts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A huge plume of smoke shoots into the air as activity in Mexico&apos;s Volcano of Fire picks up again. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins