Feeds

Corals take the heat from climate change

Permanent ruin

High performance access to file storage

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.” ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.