Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
Overfishing of sharks is harming coral reefs
by Staff Writers
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Sep 20, 2013


File image.

A team of scientists from Canada and Australia has discovered that a decline in shark populations is detrimental to coral reefs.

"Where shark numbers are reduced due to commercial fishing, there is also a decrease in the herbivorous fishes which play a key role in promoting reef health," said Jonathan Ruppert, a recent University of Toronto PhD graduate. Ruppert was part of a team engaged in long-term monitoring of reefs off Australia's northwest coast.

Team leader Mark Meekan, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), said that the results might, at first glance, seem strange.

"However our analysis suggests that where shark numbers are reduced, we see a fundamental change in the structure of food chains on reefs," Meekan said.

"We saw increasing numbers of mid-level predators - such as snappers - and a reduction in the number of herbivores such as parrotfishes," said Meekan. "The parrotfishes are very important to coral reef health because they eat the algae that would otherwise overwhelm young corals on reefs recovering from natural disturbances."

According to Ruppert, the study comes at an opportune time - coral reefs are facing a number of pressures both from direct human activity, such as over-fishing, as well as from climate change.

The reefs studied are about 300 kilometres off the coast of northwest Australia where Indonesian fishers target sharks - a practice stretching back several centuries and which continues under an Australian-Indonesian memorandum of understanding.

"The reefs provided us with a unique opportunity to isolate the impact of over-fishing of sharks on reef resilience, and assess that impact in the broader context of climate change pressures threatening coral reefs," said Ruppert. "Shark fishing appears to have quite dramatic effects on coral reef ecosystems.

"Given that sharks are in decline on reefs worldwide, largely due to the shark fin trade, this information may prove integral to restoration and conservation efforts."

Tracking studies show that, in many cases, individual reef sharks are closely attached to certain coral reefs. This means that even relatively small marine-protected areas could be effective in protecting the top-level predators and allowing coral reefs to more fully recover from coral bleaching or large cyclones which are increasing in frequency due to the warming of the oceans as a result of climate change.

The study will appear in the September 28 issue of journal PLOS One. Lead author Ruppert completed his PhD at the University of Toronto and was also based at AIMS for part of his research. He is currently a post-doctoral research associate at York University. Other team members included Marie-Josee Fortin of U of T's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Michael Travers of AIM and Luke Smith, the principal environmental scientist at Woodside Energy.

.


Related Links
University of Toronto
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
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




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





WATER WORLD
Online citizen scientists: Classify plankton images
Miami FL (SPX) Sep 20, 2013
Today, an online citizen-science project launches called "Plankton Portal" was created by researchers at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS) in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and developers at Zooniverse.org. Plankton Portal allows you to explore the open ocea ... read more


WATER WORLD
New Technology can Detect Heartbeats in Rubble

Indian police arrest politicians over communal violence

Japan PM Abe demands end to Fukushima leaks

Washington gunman 'hunted' victims: FBI

WATER WORLD
Catalysts team up with textiles

Raytheon, Falck Schmidt unveil remotely operated long-range surveillance system

Banishing explosive sparks in underground mines

Yahoo Japan develops 3D search engine-printer

WATER WORLD
U of M researchers discover early-warning system to prevent fishery collapse

Online citizen scientists: Classify plankton images

Overfishing of sharks is harming coral reefs

Viruses associated with coral epidemic of "white plague"

WATER WORLD
Unprecedented rate and scale of ocean acidification found in the Arctic

Armed Russian guards lock up activists on ship: Greenpeace

Warm Ocean Rapidly Melting Antarctic Ice Shelf from Below

Russia arrests Greenpeace Arctic activists, fires warning shots

WATER WORLD
Vaccinating cattle against E. coli O157 could cut human cases of infection by 85 percent

Sensors allow for efficient irrigation, give growers more control over plant growth

Different forage affects beef cattle weight, taste

New role for protein family could provide path to how crop traits are modified

WATER WORLD
Hurricane hits Mexico, 58 missing in mudslide

Mudslide buries village as Hurricane Manuel lashes Mexico

More than 15,000 flee volcano in Indonesia

Indonesian volcano spews towering column of smoke

WATER WORLD
160 UN peacekeepers desert Mali posts: military

Three Ivorian police killed in attacks

Uganda suspends 24 officers over Somalia corruption

Mali ministers met by hail of stones in Tuareg stronghold

WATER WORLD
Findings in Middle East suggest early human routes into Europe

Paleorivers across Sahara may have supported ancient human migration routes

Orangutans plan their future route and communicate it to others

New evidence that orangutans and gorillas can match images based on biological categories




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal 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