Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protection Zones In The Wrong Place To Prevent Coral Reef Collapse

Date:
August 28, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Conservation zones are in the wrong place to protect vulnerable coral reefs from the effects of global warming, an international team of scientists warned today. Now the team say that urgent action is needed to prevent the collapse of this important marine ecosystem.

Seychelles Islands.
Credit: iStockphoto/Alain Couillaud

Conservation zones are in the wrong place to protect vulnerable coral reefs from the effects of global warming, an international team of scientists warn.

Related Articles


Now the team – led jointly by Newcastle University and the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York – say that urgent action is needed to prevent the collapse of this important marine ecosystem.

The research is the largest study of its kind to have been carried out, covering 66 sites across seven countries and spanning over a decade in the Indian Ocean.

Current protection zones – or 'No-take areas' (NTAs) – were set up to protect fish in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before climate change was a major issue.

The team – which comprises of experts from the UK, Australia, the US, Sweden and France – found the small-scale zones were not working to protect coral reefs against the effects of climate change.

They conclude that while the existing zones should not be removed, new areas are needed in the right place to protect corals against the effects of rising temperatures.

And they say that managing the system as a whole is crucial if coral reef communities are to have any hope of surviving the effects of global warming.

Lead researcher Nick Graham, of Newcastle University's School of Marine Science and Technology, said: "We need a whole new approach – and we need to act now.

"Our research shows that many of the world's existing no-take areas are in the wrong place.

"New protected zones are needed that focus on areas identified as escaping or recovering well from climate change impacts. But a major focus needs to be shifted towards increasing the resilience of the system as a whole – that means reducing as many other locally derived threats as possible.

"Coral dies when it is put under stress so what we need to be doing is reducing the direct human impact – such as over-fishing, pollution and sedimentation – across the whole area.

"By removing all these other stresses we are giving the coral the best chance of surviving and recovering from any changes in temperature that may occur as a result of global warming."

Previous work by the team focused on the long-term impact of the 1998 event where global warming caused Indian Ocean surface temperatures to increase to unprecedented and sustained levels, killing off (or 'bleaching') more than 90 per cent of the inner Seychelles coral.

Although many areas are showing signs of long-term degradation, Mr Graham said it was positive to see that some locations either escaped the impact or have recovered.

"This provides the key to conserving coral reefs in the face of climate change," he says. "We are not suggesting that we scrap the existing NTAs – in terms of protecting fish stocks they have been quite successful.

"But they are not effective against global warming and in order to ensure the long-term survival of this rich marine community that is what we need to address."

The team comprised researchers from Newcastle University; the Wildlife Conservation Society; National Research Council, Florida; James Cook University, Australia; the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft; the University of East Anglia; the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, New Caledonia; Laboratoire d'Ecologie marine, France; Natural England; The Nature Conservancy; the Universite de la Mediterranee, France; Universite de Perpignan, France; Stockholm University, Sweden; University of Warwick.

Logistical support was received from the Seychelles Centre of Marine Research and Technology-Marine Park Authority, Seychelles Fishing Authority, Nature Seychelles, Mauritius Institute of Oceanography, University of Dar es Salaam, and Kenya Wildlife Service.

This research was funded through grants from the Leverhulme Trust, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, World Bank Targeted Research Group on Coral Bleaching, the Fisheries Society of the British Isles, the Eppley and Tiffany Foundations, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the British Overseas Development Administration (now DFID) and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Graham et al. Climate Warming, Marine Protected Areas and the Ocean-Scale Integrity of Coral Reef Ecosystems. PLoS ONE, 2008; 3 (8): e3039 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003039

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Protection Zones In The Wrong Place To Prevent Coral Reef Collapse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080826205932.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, August 28). Protection Zones In The Wrong Place To Prevent Coral Reef Collapse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080826205932.htm
Public Library of Science. "Protection Zones In The Wrong Place To Prevent Coral Reef Collapse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080826205932.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
White House: Sony Hack a 'serious National Security Matter'

White House: Sony Hack a 'serious National Security Matter'

AFP (Dec. 18, 2014) White House spokesperson Josh Earnest says cyber attacks that ultimately prompted Sony Pictures to scrap the release of a madcap comedy about North Korea are a "serious national security matter." Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
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


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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