Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coral fish biodiversity loss: Humankind could be responsible

Date:
February 28, 2014
Source:
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Summary:
Literal biodiversity reservoirs, coral reefs and associated ecosystems are in grave danger from natural and human-made disturbances. The latest World Resources Institute assessment is alarming with 75% of coral reefs reported as endangered worldwide, a figure that may reach 100% by 2050. The numbers are concerning, particularly as coral reefs provide sustenance and economic benefits for many developing countries and fish biodiversity on coral reefs partly determines the biomass available for human consumption.

Coral reef in the South Pacific.
Credit: © IRD/ Jean-Michel Boré

Literal biodiversity reservoirs, coral reefs and associated ecosystems are in grave danger from natural and human-made disturbances. The latest World Resources Institute assessment is alarming with 75% of coral reefs reported as endangered worldwide, a figure that may reach 100% by 2050. The numbers are concerning, particularly as coral reefs provide sustenance and economic benefits for many developing countries and fish biodiversity on coral reefs partly determines the biomass available for human consumption.

A Multi-Facetted Biodiversity

While phylogenetic diversity in communities is acknowledged for its vital heritage value, illustrating, as it does, a "part" of the tree of life, ecosystem functional diversity has long been overlooked in impact studies. An ecosystem's richness is also measured both in taxonomic biodiversity terms (number of different species) as well as by the number of lineages or functions performed by many ecosystem goods and services.*

There have not as yet been any studies into the impact of human activity on coral fish community taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic taxonomic diversity loss.

Functional and Phylogenetic Diversity Loss Revealed

After sampling 1553 fish communities through underwater surveys in 17 Pacific countries, researchers assessed the taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity levels of a group of species fished along a human density gradient ranging from 1.3 to 1705 persons per sq. km of reef.

The social and environmental data were collected under the PROCFish and CoFish projects co-ordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and funded by the European Union.

The results showed a sharp drop in functional and phylogenetic diversity levels, particularly above 20 people per sq. km of reef, while species richness was barely affected along the gradient.

When human population density reached 1700 persons per sq. km of reef, the impact on functional and phylogenetic diversity levels (-46 % and -36 %, respectively) was greater than on species richness (-12 %).

A Tree of Life that Needs Protecting

The research shows that species numbers are a poor indicator of anthropogenic pressure, while two other biodiversity components are far more heavily affected by human density. These components make up the tree of life, i.e. the diversity of biological traits and phylogenetic lineages that are essential for coral systems to function.

The researchers emphasised how important it was to conserve all the components of biodiversity. They also recommended using trait and lineage diversity as reliable and sensitive indicators of damage to species communities.

*Some reef fish species play key roles in ecosystem functions: regulating competition between algae and coral colonies; and creating areas that are conducive to recruiting coral larvae by bio-erosion, etc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stéphanie D’agata, David Mouillot, Michel Kulbicki, Serge Andréfouët, David R. Bellwood, Joshua E. Cinner, Peter F. Cowman, Mecki Kronen, Silvia Pinca, Laurent Vigliola. Human-Mediated Loss of Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity in Coral Reef Fishes. Current Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.049

Cite This Page:

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). "Coral fish biodiversity loss: Humankind could be responsible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228080716.htm>.
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). (2014, February 28). Coral fish biodiversity loss: Humankind could be responsible. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228080716.htm
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). "Coral fish biodiversity loss: Humankind could be responsible." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228080716.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) — Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 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