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News articles on Coral Reefs
Mongabay.com news articles on Coral Reefs in blog format. Updated regularly.
(11/08/2006) Philippine president Gloria Arroyo has enacted a new national conservation policy according to conservation International (CI). Arroyo signed an Executive Order at a Nov. 8 ceremony that stated "It is the policy of the state to protect, conserve and sustainably use biological diversity to ensure and secure the well-being of present and future generations of Filipinos."
Coral reefs can be saved from global warming
(11/03/2006) The outlook for coral reefs -- often termed the rainforests of the sea -- is dire. Overfishing, pollution, damage from anchors, mining for construction materials, and over-collection for the pet trade are all over-shadowed by climate change which could decimate reefs by higher water temperatures and increasingly acidic conditions which could render many coral species incapable of forming carbonate support structures. Nevertheless a new report from the World conservation Union (IUCN) and The Nature Conservancy says that measures can be taken to help increase the survival chances for coral reefs. The report, "Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching", outlines strategies for helping reefs to be better adapt to the impacts of climate change.
100 species discovered in Hawaii
(10/30/2006) A three-week scientific expedition to America's newest marine park, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, may have discovered 100 species of marine creatures including crabs, corals, sea cucumbers, sea quirts, worms, sea stars, snails, and clams. While some of these species are known from other areas, this will be the first time they have been recorded in the French Frigate Shoals of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Tiny crab protects coral
(10/23/2006) Researchers have discovered a symbiotic relationship between tiny crabs and coral in the South Pacific. The relationship between the crab and the coral is detailed in the November 2006 issue of the journal Coral Reefs.
Massive coral bleaching in Madagascar
(10/06/2006) A new survey of reefs along Madagascar's southwestern coast found massive damage from coral bleaching, including some reefs that lost up to 99 percent of their coral cover. But the survey team, led by the conservation groups Blue Ventures and the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and funded by conservation International (CI), also found some signs of hope. Scientists discovered several small reefs with corals that appeared to be resilient to rising sea temperatures and could ultimately be used to reseed damaged reefs. These resilient reefs may also provide valuable information about how to protect corals from future damage.
Coral reefs survive tsunami but not cyanide bombs
(09/27/2006) The impact of a tsunami on a coral reef is minimal in comparison to human-caused damage according to a new study published in the journal Atoll Research Bulletin.
Researchers seek controls to save coral reefs from live fish trade
(08/04/2006) Researchers are calling for tighter controls on the live reef fish trade, a growing threat to coral reefs, in letters to the international journal Science.
Coral reef parks established by locals more effective than government reserves
(07/31/2006) Coral reef marine protected areas established by local people for traditional use can be far more effective at protecting fish and wildlife than reserves set up by governments expressly for conservation purposes, according to a study by the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other groups.
NASA satellite images key to coral reef survey
(07/31/2006) A first-of-its-kind survey of how well the world's coral reefs are being protected was made possible by a unique collection of NASA views from space.
Some corals can adapt to ocean acidification
(07/06/2006) While scientists warn that increasing ocean acidity will doom marine animals that build skeletons and structural elements out of calcium carbonate, new research has found that corals can change their skeletons, building them out of different minerals depending on the chemical composition of the seawater around them. However, the research provides further evidence that corals are extremely sensitive to rapid environmental change and will be negatively affected by increased carbon dioxide levels in the short-term.
Genetic contact between reef fish across the 5000 km Pacific divide
(07/05/2006) Reef fish share genetic connections across what Darwin termed an 'impassable barrier', 5000km of deep ocean separating the eastern and central Pacific, according to a report by Smithsonian scientists.
Increasingly acidic oceans damaging to marine life
(07/05/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions are altering ocean chemistry and putting sea life at risk according to a new report released today. The report, "Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers," summarizes known effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on marine organisms that produce calcium carbonate skeletal structures, such as corals. Oceans worldwide absorbed approximately 118 billion metric tons of carbon between 1800 and 1994 according to the report, resulting in increased ocean acidity, which reduces the availability of carbonate ions needed for the production of calcium carbonate structures.
Severe damage expected for Caribbean coral reefs in 2006
(07/04/2006) Caribbean Sea temperatures have reached their annual high two months ahead of schedule according to a report from The Associated Press. Scientists are concerned that the region's coral reefs may suffer even worse damage than last year when 70 percent of coral was bleached in some areas.
When elephants attack. Surviving an elephant charge in the Congo rainforest of Gabon
(06/26/2006) The elephant charges. The ground trembles. Hearts racing, we are now sprinting through the forest dodging vegetation as the elephant plows right through it. The problem with being chased by an elephant, aside from their obvious size advantage, is they can run faster than you. While wild elephants can be dangerous animals under the right circumstances, other creatures are responsible for more deaths in Africa. Topping the list is the hippo, whose penchant for capsizing canoes that come too close results in the dumping of passengers who often can't swim. Buffalo, crocodiles, and lions are directly responsible for more deaths and injuries.
Madagascar's reefs escape damage from global warming
(06/22/2006) A survey of coral along Madagascar's northeast coast suggests that they island's reef may have so far escaped the damaging effects of warmer ocean temperatures attributed to global climate change. Researchers from conservation International (CI), a leading conservation group, found that the region's coral reefs have avoided the bleaching that has affected other Indian Ocean reefs. The scientists believe that cool water currents from adjacent deep ocean areas have helped offset the warming effects of climate change.
World's coral reefs threatened by lack of effective protection
(06/22/2006) Of the 18.7% of tropical coral reefs that lie within "Marine Protected Areas," less than 2% are extended protection complete with regulations on extraction, poaching and other major threats, according to an analysis published in Science Magazine on June 23. The research represents the first global assessment of the extent, effectiveness and gaps in coverage of coral reefs by MPAs. The team built a database of MPAs for 102 countries, including satellite imagery of reefs worldwide, and surveyed more than 1,000 MPA managers and scientists to determine the conservation performance of MPAs.
Mammals in war-torn Virunga National Park recovering finds WCS survey
(06/20/2006) A recent wildlife census conducted in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) revealed that several species of large mammal are now recovering from a decade of civil war and rampant poaching.
Global warming may cause permanent damage to coral reefs
(05/15/2006) Global warming has had a more devastating impact on coral reefs than previously believed says a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research, the first to show the long-term impact of rising sea temperatures on coral and fish communities, suggests that "large sections of coral reefs and much of the marine life they support may be wiped out for good," according to a news release from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, an institution involved in the project.
Corals may survive global warming by gorging themselves
(04/26/2006) A new study published in Nature says some coral are able to survive bleaching events by gorging themselves. An experiment with Hawaiian corals showed that when bleached, one species sharply increased its intake of food, increasing the likelihood that it would survive elevated water temperatures.
Damaged Caribbean reefs under attack
(04/10/2006) After experiencing one of the most devastating coral bleaching events on record during September and October of 2005, reefs in the Caribbean are under attack from deadly diseases according to Reuters.
Recent Coral Bleaching at Great Barrier Reef
(04/05/2006) An international team of scientists are working at a rapid pace to study environmental conditions behind the fast-acting and widespread coral bleaching currently plaguing Australia's Great Barrier Reef. NASA's satellite data supply scientists with near-real-time sea surface temperature and ocean color data to give them faster than ever insight into the impact coral bleaching can have on global ecology. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a massive marine habitat system made up of 2,900 reefs spanning over 600 continental islands. Though coral reefs exist around the globe, researchers actually consider this network of reefs to be the center of the world's marine biodiversity, playing a critical role in human welfare, climate, and economics. Coral reefs are a multi-million dollar recreational destinations, and the Great Barrier Reef is an important part of Australia's economy.
Climate change threatens coldwater reefs
(04/03/2006) Increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, are dissolving into the oceans, causing them to become slightly more acidic. This change in seawater chemistry could harm deep-sea calcifying animals like corals.
Reefs threatened by tsunami reconstruction
(03/16/2006) Indian Ocean coral reefs that escaped serious damage are coming under increasing threat from reconstruction efforts in the region according to a new report from the international environmental groups, World conservation Union and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.
Great Barrier Reef in Trouble says Australian Scientist
(02/01/2006) Australia's Great Barrier Reef may be at risk of one of its worst coral bleaching event on record warned a leading Australian scientist Tuesday.
Coral reefs and mangroves have high economic value
(01/24/2006) Protecting coral reefs and mangrove forests makes economic sense according to a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report argues that conserving these ecosystems for the services they provide--from fisheries protection to erosion control to a source for medical compounds--is cost-effective relative to destroying them and substituting their role with man-made structures.
Marine reserves improve health of coral reefs finds study
(01/05/2006) It may be no surprise that marine reserves protect the fish that live in them, but now scientists from the University of Exeter have shown for the first time that they could also help improve the health of coral reefs.
New resource documents Caribbean marine life of Bocas del Toro
(12/27/2005) Coral reefs, coastal rainforest, land-grab, industrial bananas and organic cacao, mangroves, tourist boom, eclectic cultural mix: A Caribbean Journal of Science special issue presents the first scientific overview of the marine environment in Bocas del Toro Province.
Caribbean reefs suffer severe coral bleaching event
(12/20/2005) The Caribbean experienced one of the most devastating coral bleaching events on record during September and October while hurricanes battered the Gulf of Mexico. In response, NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have sent a team to assess the situation.
New online photographic guide to coral reef fish larvae unlocks secrets of young fish
(12/13/2005) Coralreeffish.com, a coral reef fish research site, today announced the availability of a photographic web-guide to the late-stage larvae of coral reef fishes. The guide is aimed at both assisting researchers in identifying the myriad fish larvae that are caught in reef surveys and providing an overview of this intriguing, and often invisible, world to students and interested laymen.
Coral reefs decimated by 2050, Great Barrier Reef's coral 95% dead
(11/17/2005) Australia's Great Barrier Reef could lose 95 percent of its living coral by 2050 should ocean temperatures increase by the 1.5 degrees Celsius projected by climate scientists. The startling and controversial prediction, made last year in a report commissioned by the World Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Queensland government, is just one of the dire scenarios forecast for reefs in the near future. The degradation and possible disappearance of these ecosystems would have profound socioeconomic ramifications as well as ecological impacts says Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, head of the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Studies.
World deforestation rates and forest cover statistics, 2000-2005
(11/16/2005) Cambodia has the world's highest deforestation rate, Brazil loses the largest area of forest annually, and Congo consumes more bushmeat than any other tropical country. These are among the findings from mongabay.com's analysis of new deforestation figures from the United Nations. Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment, a regular report on the status world's forest resources. Overall, FAO concludes that net deforestation rates have fallen since the 1990-2000 period, but some 13 million hectares of the world's forests are still lost each year, including 6 million hectares of primary forests. Primary forests -- forests with no visible signs of past or present human activities -- are considered the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet.
Papua New Guinea adds 12 new protected areas
(11/04/2005) The government of Papua New Guinea announced that it will gazette 12 new protected areas covering some of the country's most biologically diverse forests, wetlands and coral reefs.
Hunting ban threatens Congo forest dwellers
(10/31/2005) A blanket ban on hunting in the Republic of Congo has made life even more difficult for the Baka community, an indigenous hunter-gatherer group living in the rain forests near the timber-concession areas in the north of the country.
Congo's Kabila calls for rainforest protection
(10/30/2005) The world's second largest rainforest stands a greater chance of being protected after Congo's president finally backed a largely ignored ban on new logging, conservation group Greenpeace said on Friday.
Invasive species date back thousands of years
(10/13/2005) Much has been made of the economic impacts of recent biological invasions, but what are the implications of invasions in deep time? Luiz Rocha leads geneticists who time travel through ocean environments. The results of their travels, published online in Molecular Ecology, tell us that during warm, interglacial periods, reef-associated fish (goby genus Gnatholepis), leapt around the horn of Africa into the Atlantic, where their range expanded as the world warmed.
Satellite monitors health of coral reefs
(10/05/2005) Australian researchers have found Envisat's MERIS sensor can detect coral bleaching down to ten metres deep. This means Envisat could potentially monitor impacted coral reefs worldwide on a twice-weekly basis.
Virunga hippo population falling rapidly from poaching
(09/12/2005) A new aerial survey shows that the hippo population in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo will soon be extinct due to rampant poaching for hippo teeth and meat, WWF warned today.
Divers to monitor health of coral reefs in the UAE
(09/12/2005) The Emirates Diving Association is training its members and staff to monitor the health of the coral reefs and marine life in the UAE.
In Fiji locals grow "live rock" for aquarium trade with university help
(07/26/2005) In a unique project that combines environmental conservation, economic development and drug discovery research, scientists and policy experts led by the Georgia Institute of Technology are collaborating with the villagers of Tagaqe and the University of the South Pacific to explore, protect and generate income for islanders from their shallow fringing coral reef.
Protectors of wildlife in war-torn Congo recognized with new Award
(06/01/2005) Abraham Prize Awarded to Families of Murdered Guards, Survivors of Poaching, Rebel Attacks; UNESCO World Heritage Site Parks Still Under Siege.
Recordings of coral reef sounds attract fish
(05/24/2005) Using recordings of reef sounds may increase reef fish stocks depleted by shipping traffic, underwater drilling and overfishing. Scientists have discovered that some species of young coral reef fish are lured back to home reefs by sounds they hear while still developing in the egg.
Reefs worth more for tourism than fishing in Australia
(05/08/2005) The planet's largest living organism is worth more to Australia as an intact ecosystem for tourism than an extracative reserve for fishing.
Okapi, other wildlife saved in the Congo by forest protector
(04/21/2005) Corneille Ewango of the Wildlife conservation Society today received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for risking his life helping to protect one of Africa's environmental gems—the Okapi Faunal Reserve—from the depredations of rebel militias in the wartorn region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bioprospecting in Panama
(04/20/2005) Coiba, an island 12 miles off the coast of Panama and once a notorious penal colony, may be hiding big secrets in its reefs, among them, a possible cure for malaria.
The Next Costa Rica? Environmental activism takes root in Honduras
(04/18/2005) With its biodiversity, rich history, beautiful beaches, and stunning reefs, some believe Honduras could be the ecotourism hotspot in Central America. However, between growing gang violence linked to the drug trade in the United States and conflicts between developers and local communities, the country still faces many challenges in becoming the next Costa Rica. Special correspondent Tina Butler takes a look at changing attitudes about the environment in one of Central America's poorest countries.
Coral reefs survive tsunami relatively unscathed, report finds
(04/16/2005) Coral reefs survive tsunami relatively unscathed, report finds
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