Feeds

Corals take the heat from climate change

Permanent ruin

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Unrecoverable: The Seychelles coral reef that suffered as a result of rising sea temperaturesCoral reefs, some of the world's most productive and diverse ecosystems, may already be wrecked beyond repair by global warming, according to a new study.

An international team, writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied how reefs in the Seychelles failed to recover after a huge bleaching event in 1998.

It's the first time researchers have shown that the damage caused may be unrecoverable.

Coral bleaching occurs when increased sea temperatures cause colourful zooxanthellate algae to be expelled from their jellyfish-related hosts. The zooxanthellates form the photosynthetic half of the partnership that coral reefs are based on.

During 1998, the Indian Ocean warmed to unprecedented levels, and as much as 90 per cent of Seychelles' coral reef was bleached. Without the algae, the animal which builds the calcium skeleton dies too, and the reef crumbles away. Sometimes reefs are able to “reseed” themselves, but the marine scientists say the damage done in the Seychelles was too severe and and widespread for local currents to bring the algae back.

The survey also found that four fish species had become extinct locally, and overall species diversity across fish in the worst-hit areas had plummeted by 50 per cent.

Research leader Nick Graham, of the University of Newcastle, said: “Unfortunately it may be too late to save many of these reefs, but that research shows the importance of countries tackling greenhouse gas emissions and trying to reduce global warming and its effect on some of the world's finest and most diverse wildlife.” ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.