by Staff Writers
Vancouver, Canada (SPX) May 03, 2017
A UBC-led research team has developed a new global coral bleaching database that could help scientists predict future bleaching events.
Until now, knowledge of the geographic extent of mass coral bleaching has been incomplete.
"We know that mass coral bleaching is happening all over the world, but the majority of events are in places in the developing world where the capacity for monitoring them is limited," said Simon Donner, associate professor in the department of geography and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at UBC.
"But no report doesn't mean bleaching didn't happen. It could be that the monitoring resources are not available or the reefs are too remote to visit."
To build the database, the researchers scoured academic journals, government documents and other sources for reports of coral bleaching missing from an existing voluntary database commonly used by scientists. Then, they personally contacted local experts in places where they suspected coral bleaching had occurred.
So far, their database contains 79 per cent more reports than the voluntary database. The researchers also found two-thirds of the new reports show moderate or severe bleaching. Using the data, Donner and his team also created global maps showing areas where coral bleaching likely occurred between 1985 and 2010, despite the lack of previous reports.
The database will help scientists more accurately assess changes in the frequency of mass coral bleaching. It will also help predict future bleaching from ocean temperatures and allow scientists to test whether coral reefs are adjusting to rising ocean temperatures.
"If oceans continue warming at the current rate for the rest of the century, it's likely that we won't have many corals left," said Donner. "About a quarter of the ocean's biodiversity exists on coral reefs. People depend on them for food, income and protection from rising seas."
A loss of the world's coral reefs from climate change would be disastrous for people in the tropics and Donner encourages everyone to contribute to the open-source database.
"You don't even have to be a scientist," he said. "To anyone who is a diver, your citizen-scientist engagement can be valuable for us trying to understand what's happening to coral reefs around the planet."
The study, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, was co-authored by Gregory J.M. Rickbeil and Scott F. Heron.
Tallahassee FL (SPX) May 01, 2017
Climate change may be putting cyanobacteria that are crucial to the functioning of the ocean at risk as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases and the acidity of ocean water changes. In a paper published Thursday in Science, a team of researchers from Florida State University, Xiamen University in China and Princeton University argue that the acidification of seawater cau ... read more
University of British Columbia
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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|