Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

As coral disappears, so do tiny crab species
by Brooks Hays
Gainesville, Fla. (UPI) Sep 11, 2015

Hawaii experiencing statewide coral bleaching due to increased water temperatures
Honolulu (UPI) Sep 12, 2015 - Hawaii is experiencing its second bout of mass coral bleaching as a direct effect of abnormally high ocean temperatures. This year, an aggressive El NiƱo has expanded the threat to the entire state.

Climate experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch program have predicted severe coral bleaching conditions spanning from the waters surrounding Hawaii's northernmost island of Kure Atoll to its southernmost Hawaii Island.

"Coral bleaching is a result of a loss of algae living within the coral's tissue that provide them with energy and give them their colors," said aquatic biologist Brian Neilson from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. "This loss results in the pale or white 'bleached' appearance of the impacted corals. When corals bleach, they lose a supply of energy and become particularly vulnerable to additional environmental stress."

Researchers say the ocean temperatures surrounding the Hawaiian islands have increased between two and four degrees this summer. Bleaching is now being observed by scientists and residents.

"Just mass mortality!" researcher Courtney Couch explained to the state's KITV. "I've never seen something that fast happen at that level. It really is a wake up call."

Hawaii was also affected by coral bleaching last year, when most of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) were severely affected by the ocean's temperature. This year, however, the area is experiencing its worst reported bleaching event.

"Being extra careful to not damage corals, preventing pollution inputs, and using pono fishing practices can help corals to recover from this bleaching event," DLNR chair Suzanne Case said regarding response efforts. The organization has reportedly begun monitoring and partnering with state officials to properly respond to the predicament.

"If we fail to protect [coral reefs] and lose them, it could have tremendously negative impacts not only on the overall ocean ecosystem but on Hawaii's economy," Case said.

Little-studied species of tiny crabs are at risk of extinction, researchers say, as coral reefs continue to disappear.

A new study by researchers from the University of Florida highlights the increasingly vulnerability of cryptochirid crabs, sometimes called gall crabs or coral gall crabs. There 52 known species of the minuscule crustaceans, some as small as a pea.

And as the new paper reveals, their tiny size is closely tied to their preferred coral environs. In tracing the body size of 792 species of prehistoric crabs and lobsters, post-doctoral researcher Adiel Klompmaker found habitat -- particularly coral -- has a predominant influence on the evolution of body size.

As animal lineages diversify, body sizes increase, as a general rule. But while the same trends can be seen among crustacean lineages, researchers found minimum body sizes (the lower end of the evolutionary range) remained the same over time.

Researchers say that's because gall crabs evolved smaller body sizes as they diversified across new reef environs during the Mesozoic Era. The crabs' small sizes allow various species to slip into the cracks of intimate coral environs.

Together, these crabs and their coral homes have evolved a harmonious relationship. The coral crevices offer the crabs a place to hide and hunt, and the crabs can ward off small coral-eaters.

But in the Caribbean and elsewhere, coral reefs (and the tiny crabs that call them home) are struggling from threats of pollution, rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification.

"The addition of human influences pushes some of these reefs over the edge," Klompmaker said in a press release. "Many species of crab are so strongly adapted to reef life, they simply won't survive elsewhere, including 52 species of tiny cryptochirid crabs that live inside corals all over the world, including in Florida."

Unless more is done to protect coral, Klompmaker says unique species like cryptochirid crabs will soon be gone.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Activists find Taiwanese ship with 'illegal' shark fins: Greenpeace
Port Moresby (AFP) Sept 10, 2015
Greenpeace said Thursday they boarded a Taiwanese ship allegedly operating illegally near Papua New Guinea, finding bags of shark fins onboard in what could be the latest example of the lucrative poaching trade in the region. The reported discovery of 75 kilogrammes (165 pounds) of shark fins by the activist group on Wednesday night came as regional leaders met in Port Moresby for the Pacifi ... read more

Big China payouts for Tianjin firefighters' families

EU chief calls human traffickers 'murderers', urges crackdown

France Nears Completion of Chernobyl Steel Confinement Structure

France cash pledge for persecuted Mideast minorities

Billie Holiday to return to New York stage -- by hologram

Half diamond, half cubic boron, all cutting business

Customizing 3-D printing

DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue is unveiled

Ocean acidification weighing heavily upon marine algae

Activists find Taiwanese ship with 'illegal' shark fins: Greenpeace

Pacific leader warns Australia on climate stance

Could tiny jellyfish propulsion drive design of new underwater craft

US icebreaker reaches North Pole

Icebreaker Healy first U.S. surface ship to reach North Pole on its own

New clues as to how crew survived 1813 shipwreck in Alaska

Reconstructing a vanished bird community from the Ice Age

Fourth wheat gene is key to flowering and climate adaptation

EU lawmakers want full animal cloning ban

Crop rotation boosts soil microbes, benefits plant growth

Plants also suffer from stress

Tropical storm Henri forms in the Atlantic: forecasters

Typhoon Etau slams into Japanese mainland

Hundreds trapped as floods sweep Japan

Typhoon Etau barrelling toward Japanese mainland

Sudan police break up Omdurman protest with tear gas: witnesses

Horse ban in NE Nigeria after Boko Haram attacks

US dentist who killed Cecil the lion breaks silence

Algeria power struggle intensifies with arrest, sackings

A one-million-year-old monkey fossil

Ancient human shoulders reveal links to ape ancestors

Did grandmas make people pair up?

New film aims to capture 'Human' experience

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.