Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Caribbean wins the seaweed Olympics

Date:
June 7, 2012
Source:
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Summary:
Coral reefs might seem to be tranquil environments but in fact a battle is constantly waged between corals and seaweeds fighting over space. Scientists have known for some time that seaweeds can gain the upper hand if corals are damaged by hurricanes or excessively warm sea temperatures that cause coral bleaching. But a new study reveals that Caribbean seaweeds are the equivalent of Olympian athletes compared those found on coral reefs elsewhere.

A new study finds that Caribbean seaweeds are far better competitors than their equivalents in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. But this triumph is bad news for Caribbean coral reefs.

The picture-postcard beauty of Caribbean reefs owes much to the living corals that build reefs and contribute startling white sand to beaches. Coral reefs might seem to be tranquil environment but in fact a battle is constantly waged between corals and seaweeds that fight over space. Scientists have known for some time that seaweeds can gain the upper hand if corals are damaged by hurricanes or excessively warm sea temperatures that cause coral bleaching. But a new study, published online June 7, reveals that Caribbean seaweeds are the equivalent of Olympian athletes compared those found on coral reefs elsewhere.

"Seaweeds bloom four times faster in the Caribbean than the Pacific Ocean," exclaims study author, Dr George Roff, of the University of Queensland. "This helps explain why corals in the Caribbean seem to be such weak competitors against seaweeds."

The study raises concerns about the future of Caribbean coral reefs. If seaweeds bloom faster, corals are less likely to recover once they have been damaged.

Coauthor, Professor Peter Mumby, adds, "Seaweeds are able to bloom when we loosen their controls, either by polluting the sea with fertilizers or catching too many parrotfish, who treat seaweed as a delicacy. We now know that seaweeds will bloom if we give them the slightest chance. This means we should redouble our efforts to control pollution and fishing of parrotfishes."

The study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, cannot yet explain why Caribbean seaweeds are so prolific.

"It is intriguing to see such variability in seaweed behavior around the world," says Dr Roff. "We raise a number of possible explanations that scientists will test over the next few years."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. George Roff, Peter J. Mumby. Global disparity in the resilience of coral reefs. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.04.007

Cite This Page:

ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Caribbean wins the seaweed Olympics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607105813.htm>.
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. (2012, June 7). Caribbean wins the seaweed Olympics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607105813.htm
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Caribbean wins the seaweed Olympics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607105813.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) — Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
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