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 July 23, 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 July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 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:
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