Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Major Losses For Caribbean Reef Fish In Last 15 Years

Date:
March 20, 2009
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
By combining data from 48 studies of coral reefs from around the Caribbean, researchers have found that fish densities that have been stable for decades have given way to significant declines since 1995.

By combining data from 48 studies of coral reefs from around the Caribbean, researchers have found that fish densities that have been stable for decades have given way to significant declines since 1995.
Credit: iStockphoto/David Safanda

By combining data from 48 studies of coral reefs from around the Caribbean, researchers have found that fish densities that have been stable for decades have given way to significant declines since 1995.

"We were most surprised to discover that this decrease is evident for both large-bodied species targeted by fisheries as well as small-bodied species that are not fished," said Michelle Paddack of Simon Fraser University in Canada. "This suggests that overfishing is probably not the only cause."

Rather, they suggest that the recent declines may be explained by drastic losses in coral cover and other changes in coral reef habitats that have occurred in the Caribbean over the past 30 years. Those changes are the result of many factors, including warming ocean temperatures, coral diseases, and a rise in sedimentation and pollution from coastal development. Overfishing has also led to declines of many fish species, and now seems to also be removing those that are important for keeping the reefs free of algae.

"All of these factors are stressing the reefs and making them less able to recover from disturbances such as hurricanes, which also seem to be occurring more frequently," Paddack said.

Scientists had previously documented historical declines in the abundance of large Caribbean reef fishes that probably reflect centuries of overexploitation. However, effects of recent degradation of reef habitats on reef fish had not been established before now.

In the new study, the research team compiled data on reef fish densities from 48 studies representing 318 reefs across the Caribbean from 1955 to 2007. Their analysis found that overall reef fish density has been declining significantly for more than a decade, at rates that are consistent across all sub-regions of the Caribbean basin. Specifically, they show losses in fish density of 2.7 to 6 percent per year.

Paddack said her study, which involved a very large team of scientists from around the globe, should serve as a call to action.

"If we want to have coral reefs in our future, we must ensure that we reduce damage to these ecosystems," she said. "On a personal level, this may mean not buying wild-caught aquarium fish and corals, not eating reef fish species that are declining, taking care not to anchor on reefs, and reducing our carbon emissions to help control climate change. But importantly, we need to let lawmakers and resource managers know that we care about these ecosystems and we need to push for changes in how they are managed."

The study appears online on March 19th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Paddack et al. Recent Region-wide Declines in Caribbean Reef Fish Abundance. Current Biology, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.02.041

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Major Losses For Caribbean Reef Fish In Last 15 Years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319132911.htm>.
Cell Press. (2009, March 20). Major Losses For Caribbean Reef Fish In Last 15 Years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319132911.htm
Cell Press. "Major Losses For Caribbean Reef Fish In Last 15 Years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319132911.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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