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




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















WATER WORLD
Seeing inside coral
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Jun 15, 2017


X-ray photograph of a coral skeleton core, split in half, showing annual growth layers made up of a light and dark band. X-ray shows the top half of the skeleton core. Credit Kiho Kim, Ph.D.

Coral reefs sustain marine life all over the world and protect its vulnerable coastlines. But the reefs are increasingly endangered, mainly because of pollution and rising ocean temperatures. Scientists, including American University's Kiho Kim are racing the clock to assess the true extent of the damage before it becomes irreversible. Today, new technologies are making it possible to see inside coral, to examine the skeleton cores for devastation caused by humans.

Kim and his team members are among the first to use a novel chemical technique to study coral skeletons to document the impacts from human activity. A new study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin explains how they did it in the U.S. territory of Guam, a small island nation undergoing dramatic ecological change.

"This study gives us a sense of how big the changes have been over the last 60 years and how population growth is leading to the degradation of the reefs," Kim said.

The researchers worked with coral on the eastern side of the island, in the Togcha River watershed, where a community's sewage plant dumps effluent into the river that then flows downstream to coastal coral reefs. The Togcha reef flat gets polluted from sewage-derived nitrogen from the plant and septic tank outflows. Coral disease is prevalent.

In Guam, as in many island nations, the biggest pollutant is sewage-derived nitrogen, due to poor wastewater infrastructure. Guam's sewage plants are old, effluent is not treated to the highest standards, and water samples routinely show sewage at amounts higher than government levels set for safe recreational waters in freshwater and marine environments.

Figuring out how much sewage-derived nitrogen contributes to coral reef degradation is challenging but important. Researchers must account for other stressors affecting coral, both natural and human-made, like the El Nino weather phenomenon and overfishing. The information scientists glean can help predict what's to come for the reefs of the future.

This is especially critical for Guam, where the island's population, currently 160,000, is set to grow by an estimated 40,000. This influx will occur when U.S. marines and their support services relocate from Japan. Though the marines have not yet moved, the U.S. government is working on plans, according to recent news reports.

New technique
Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems of the world's oceans. Communities depend on them for food, for the fish that live in them, and for tourism. They are under stress like never before. Many reefs are taking longer to recover from bleaching events, which occur when warm waters or pollution undermine the coral's ability to feed. Coral turns white and becomes more susceptible to disease. Recently, scientists discovered whole sections of Australia's Great Barrier Reef dead due to warm water temperatures.

When coral grow, they put down layers of skeleton the same way that tree rings grow over time. As waters warm due to climate change, scientists examine these layers to understand temperature changes on coral. Now scientists can study the coral layers for nitrogen pollution by using a new chemical technique, developed by researchers at Princeton, which allows more precise stable isotope analysis of coral skeleton. Kim and his colleagues extracted a single skeleton from a colony of massive coral near the mouth of the Togcha River, in water about six meters deep.

The nitrogen pollution the researchers recorded from the skeleton correlates with Guam's population increases over the last 60 years. Between 1960 and 1980 alone, Guam's population increased tenfold.

The coral skeleton core was extracted by using a 5.5-cm wide, hollow, diamond-tipped drill bit. In this instance, Kim and his team members used a high-pressure air drill attached to a scuba tank to remove a core 70 cm in length. Drilling may sound harsh, but it doesn't hurt the coral.

After extracting the core, which will not be put back, researchers capped the hole with a cement plug. They later observed the coral and found coral tissue growing over the plug, which indicated the coral's health hadn't been harmed.

Confronting coral reef decline
While climate change requires action on a global level, pollution is a local issue that can be addressed better infrastructure and policy, Kim said. Mitigation of nitrogen is critical to conserving the ecosystem of mangroves, seagrasses and corals in Guam's coastal waters.

"Coral reefs on Guam face the simultaneous challenges of multiple--and sometimes conflicting--user needs and impacts from declining water quality. Yet they remain of critical importance to Guam's economy," Kim said. "This situation is common to tropical islands throughout the world. Lessons learned regarding coping with these challenges may provide guidance for other islands in the region."

"Life and death of a sewage treatment plant recorded in a coral skeleton d15N record," is authored by Nicholas N. Duprey, Xingchen T. Wang, Philip D. Thompson, Jeffrey E. Pleadwell, Laurie J. Raymundo, Kiho Kim, Daniel M. Sigman and David M. Baker.

WATER WORLD
US backs UN call to save oceans but no action on climate
United Nations, United States (AFP) June 9, 2017
The United States on Friday joined all 192 other UN member-states in releasing a "Call to Action" to save the oceans but disassociated itself from joint efforts to combat climate change. The declaration capped the UN's first-ever ocean conference, which opened on Monday under the shadow of the US exit from the 190-plus Paris agreement on climate change. "The United States remains committ ... read more

Related Links
American University
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

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

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

WATER WORLD
Hundreds sick in food poisoning at Mosul displaced camp

Flower power: gardening as therapy in Poland

Philippine war refugees facing deadly health risks

Scorpions the new threat for displaced Mosul civilians

WATER WORLD
Metal-ion catalysts and hydrogen peroxide could green up plastics production

Liquids are capable of supporting waves with short wavelengths only

New sound diffuser is 10 times thinner than existing designs

New catalytic converter composite reduces rare earth element usage

WATER WORLD
New-generation material removes iodine from water

Lost ecosystem found buried in mud of southern California coastal waters

DRCongo seeks joint Chinese-Spanish offer to build dam

Boeing, Huntington Ingalls giving boost to Navy UUV program

WATER WORLD
Finding new homes won't help Emperor penguins cope with climate change

Blight or blessing? How the wolverine embodies Arctic diversity

Domes of frozen methane may be warning signs for new blow-outs

Geoscientific evidence for subglacial lakes

WATER WORLD
Bee buzzes could help determine how to save their decreasing population

Dairy dispute sours Belarus-Russia relations

Spain's 'jamon' conquers China

Scientists design laser to kill weeds

WATER WORLD
Greek island picks up the pieces after 6.3-magnitude quake

Volcanoes, referees for the life on Earth

Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe

2017 hurricane season follows year of extremes

WATER WORLD
Tunisian soldier dead after landmine blast

Nigerian soldier sentenced to death for 'Boko Haram' murder

France faces US reservations over UN backing for Sahel force

UN peacekeeper death toll rises after Mali jihadist attack

WATER WORLD
How the brain recognizes what the eye sees

Removal of aging cells could extend human life

Hand-washing is like hitting a reset button in the brain

Dating expert ages oldest modern human




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






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