Monday, October 25, 2010

Coral death

Reefs of Pulau Weh; before, during and after the bleaching event. (a) April 18, 2009 ; (b) May 31, 2010; and (c) July 26, 2010.  Photo credit (left to right): R. Graham, N. Fadli, Y. Herdiana. 

International marine scientists say that a huge coral death which has struck Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean reefs over recent months has highlighted the urgency of controlling global carbon emissions.

Many reefs are dead or dying across the Indian Ocean and into the Coral Triangle following a bleaching event that extends from the Seychelles in the west to Sulawesi and the Philippines in the east and include reefs in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and many sites in western and eastern Indonesia.

“It is certainly the worst coral die-off we have seen since 1998.  It may prove to be the worst such event known to science,” says Dr Andrew Baird of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook Universities. “So far around 80 percent of Acropora colonies and 50 per cent of colonies from other species have died since the outbreak began in May this year.”

For the full press release from the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies see - Worst coral death strikes at SE Asia 10/19/10.

1 comment:

John Blake Clark said...

Coral bleaching is really unfortunate, and it is one of the best (or i guess worst) examples of how carbon emissions are affecting the biodiversity of the coral reef ecosystems. I think that it takes blatant, catastrophic events for people to realize that as humans we are the main and extensive cause of most of the loss of biodiversity. This year we have seen two of these; the coral bleaching and maybe even more conspicuous, the gulf oil spill. I hope that as society we realize that our impact on the biosphere is real, is acute, and is now affecting the planet on a massive scale. We actually need to take measures to protect what we can while humanity still has the chance. I think that Leopold makes a valid point in his view that he thinks humans can increase biodiversity. We just need to take the steps to do that. And since we have lowered biodiversity for as long as humans have been dominating the planet, there is much room to expand upward in both species richness and evenness. The ecosystem as an intact, or partially intact, unit is much more valuable to society than fragmenting it and exploiting the resources for consumption. Not only that, but I hope that most people are like me and find great pleasure in basking in the wonder that the biotic and abiotic aspects of our Earth present every day.