Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean naturally tougher than Caribbean reefs

Date:
July 12, 2012
Source:
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Summary:
Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef, recover faster from major stresses than their Caribbean counterparts, leading marine scientists say.

Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef, recover faster from major stresses than their Caribbean counterparts, leading marine scientists have said.
Credit: Copyright George Roff

Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef, recover faster from major stresses than their Caribbean counterparts, leading marine scientists have said.

Related Articles


Dr George Roff and Professor Peter Mumby from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland told the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns on July 12 that coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean are naturally tougher than the Caribbean reefs.

"The main reason that Indo-Pacific reefs are more resilient is they have less seaweed than the Caribbean Sea," Dr Roff says. "Seaweed and corals are age-old competitors in the battle for space. When seaweed growth rates are lower, such as the Indo-Pacific region, the reefs recover faster from setbacks. This provides coral with a competitive advantage over seaweed, and our study suggests that these reefs would have to be heavily degraded for seaweeds to take over.

"This doesn't mean that we can be complacent -- reefs around the world are still heavily threatened by climate change and human activities," he says. "What it indicates is Indo-Pacific reefs will respond better to protection, and steps we take to keep them healthy have a better chance of succeeding."

"Many of the doom and gloom stories have emanated from the Caribbean, which has deteriorated rapidly in the last 30 years," says Professor Mumby. "We now appreciate that the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean are far more different than we thought."

The study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE), includes survey data Indo-Pacific region and Caribbean reefs from 1965 to 2010.

The researchers also found that seaweeds in Indo-Pacific region bloom four times more slowly than those in the Caribbean.

"We're not sure why this happens, but a plausible theory is that Caribbean waters are highly enriched in iron," they say. "For thousands of years, the Caribbean Sea has received dusts that blow across the Atlantic from the Sahara, and the dust contains iron -- an essential element for algae to grow.

"This suggests that the difference between the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean oceans and their coral reefs is fundamental, and occurs at a very large scale.

"Another factor that protects these reefs is the abundance of herbivorous fish, such as surgeon and parrotfish that treat seaweed as a delicacy. The Indo-Pacific region has a lot of these fishes.

"For instance, the Indo-Pacific region has 70 species and six genera of parrotfish, while the Caribbean only has 13 species and two genera of the fish."

While the findings indicate a brighter future for the Indo-Pacific reefs, nations such as Australia will need to maintain vigilant protection of the ocean, the researchers warn.

"All reefs face an uncertain future, particularly in places with lots of human activities," they say. "We still need to curb the overfishing of herbivorous fish, as they are very sought after in the Pacific. We also need to control the level of nutrients in the water and prevent runoff when necessary.

"The good news is that our Indo-Pacific reefs are tougher than we thought -- we just need to make sure that our actions won't destroy their natural resilience."


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.


Cite This Page:

ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean naturally tougher than Caribbean reefs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712101545.htm>.
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. (2012, July 12). Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean naturally tougher than Caribbean reefs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712101545.htm
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean naturally tougher than Caribbean reefs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712101545.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) First came the big storm. Now comes the big melt for residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo. New York's governor says officials are preparing for the worst as the temperature is expected to rise and potentially melt several feet of snow. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." 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:

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