A healthy coral reef in Tanzania
A healthy coral reef in Tanzania. (c) Tim McClanahan/WCS
Environment
Study of wolves will help scientists predict climate effects on endangered animals — Scientists studying populations of grey wolves in the USA's Yellowstone National Park have developed a way to predict how changes in the environment will impact on the animals' number,…
Climate sensitivity to CO2 more limited than extreme projections — A new study suggests that the rate of global warming from doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates of some previous studies - and, in fact, may…
Saving Da Vinci's Last Supper from air pollution — Having survived long centuries, political upheaval, and even bombings during World War II, Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece Last Supper now faces the risk of damage from air pollution…
After 25 years, sustainability is a growing science that's here to stay — Sustainability has not only become a science in the past 25 years, but it is one that continues to be fast-growing with widespread international collaboration, broad disciplinary composition…
Markets drive conservation in Central Africa — Certification has shown that commercial forestry can co-exist with conservation objectives in the Congo Basin, according to conclusions reached at an international seminar 'Forest management…
Great Plains river basins threatened by pumping of aquifers — Suitable habitat for native fishes in many Great Plains streams has been significantly reduced by the pumping of groundwater from the High Plains aquifer - and scientists analysing…
Rivers may aid climate control in cities — Speaking at the URSULA (Urban River Corridors and Sustainable Living Agendas) Conference, in Sheffield, Dr Abigail Hathway, of the University of Sheffield, will demonstrate how rivers…
Vultures dying at alarming rate — Vultures in South Asia were on the brink of extinction until Lindsay Oaks and Richard Watson, from The Peregrine Fund in the US, undertook observational and forensic studies to find…
Predicting future threats for global amphibian biodiversity — Amphibian populations are declining worldwide, and their declines far exceed those of other animal groups: more than 30% of all species are listed as threatened according to the Red…
Study shows deforestation causes cooling — Deforestation, considered by scientists to contribute significantly to global warming, has been shown by a Yale-led team to actually cool the local climate in northern latitudes, according…
Where am I? > Home > News > Environment

'Super reefs' fend off climate change

Science Centric | 23 April 2009 17:39 GMT
Printable version A clip for your blog or website E-mail the story to a friend
Bookmark or share the story on your social network Vote for this article Decrease text size Increase text size
DON'T MISS —
A river ran through it
A river ran through it — Rivers and streams supply the lifeblood to ecosystems across the globe, providing water for drinking and irrigation for humans…
Global warming's influence on El Nino still unknown
Global warming's influence on El Nino still unknown — The climate of the Pacific region will undergo significant changes as atmospheric temperatures rise but scientists can not…
More Environment

The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today a study showing that some coral reefs off East Africa are unusually resilient to climate change due to improved fisheries management and a combination of geophysical factors. WCS announced the results of the study at the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), which is meeting this week in Phuket, Thailand.

The study, published in the online journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, provides additional evidence that globally important 'super reefs' exist in the triangle from Northern Madagascar across to northern Mozambique to southern Kenya and, thus, should be a high priority for future conservation action.

Authors of the study include Tim McClanahan and Nyawira Muthiga of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Joseph Maina of the Coral Reef Conservation Project, Albogast Kamukuru of the University of Dar es Salaam's Department of Fisheries Science and Aquaculture, and Saleh A.S. Yahna of the University of Dar es Salaam's Institute of Marine Sciences and Stockholm University's Department of Zoology.

The study found that Tanzania's corals recovered rapidly from the 1998 bleaching event that had wiped out up to 45 percent of the region's corals. Along with monitoring Tanzania's reefs, WCS helps coral conservation in this region through training of park staff in protected areas.

The authors attribute the recovery of Tanzania's coral reefs due in part to direct management measures, including closures to commercial fishing. Areas with fishery closures contained an abundance of fish that feed on algae that can otherwise smother corals, while the few sites without any specific management measures remain degraded; one site had experienced a population explosion of sea urchins - pests that feeds on corals.

The findings also showed that the structure of the reefs played a major factor in their resiliency. Tanzania's reefs are particularly complex and experience unusual variations in current and water temperature. These factors allow for greater survivorship of a higher diversity of coral species, including those that can quickly re-colonise after bleaching.

'Northern Tanzania's reefs have exhibited considerable resilience and in some cases improvements in reef conditions despite heavy pressure from climate change impacts and overfishing,' noted Wildlife Conservation Society scientist Dr Tim McClanahan, the study's lead author. 'This gives cause for considerably more optimism that developing countries, such as Tanzania, can effectively manage their reefs in the face of climate change.'

The authors suggest that reefs in Tanzania and elsewhere that exhibit similar environmental conditions have the ability to recover from large-scale climatic and human disturbances. They may, therefore, be a priority for conservation under predicted climate change scenarios where many reefs are expected to suffer further degradation.

On a broader scale, the Wildlife Conservation Society is actively conserving nearly 90 percent of the world's tropical coral reef species in priority seascapes in Belize, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Kenya and Madagascar.

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is a global partnership among governments and organisations working to stop and reverse the degradation of coral reefs and related ecosystems. This ICRI General Meeting was convened by the joint Mexico - United States Secretariat. WCS is an institutional partner to ICRI.

From Fiji to Glover's Reef, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and The Tiffany and Co. Foundation have provided generous support for Dr McClanahan's research, which examines the ecology, fisheries, climate change effects, and management of coral reefs at key sites throughout the world.

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society


Leave a comment
The details you provide on this page [e-mail address] will not be used to send unsolicited e-mail, and will not be supplied to a third party! Please note that we can not promise to give everyone a response. Comments are fully moderated. Once approved they will be posted within 24 hours.
Expand the form to leave a comment

RSS FEEDS, NEWSLETTER
Find the topic you want. Science Centric offers several RSS feeds for the News section.

Or subscribe for our Newsletter, a free e-mail publication. It is published practically every day.

Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico nears the coastOil spill in the Gulf of Mexico nears the coast

— In this latest image acquired by ESA's Envisat on Thursday at 16:23 UTC, oil from the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico can be seen as a dark blue swirl advancing…

New satellite image of volcanic ash cloudNew satellite image of volcanic ash cloud

— This image, acquired by ESA's Envisat satellite, shows the vast cloud of volcanic ash sweeping across the UK from the eruption in Iceland, more than 1000 km away.…

Wildfires in Southern California captured by satelliteWildfires in Southern California captured by satellite

— Wildfires throughout Southern California has been captured by the backward (northward)-viewing camera of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument…

Water scarcity started 15 years agoWater scarcity started 15 years ago

— New analysis shows that the water scarcity being experienced in southeast Australia started up to 15 years ago. While the results from the work by senior CSIRO researcher,…

Popular tags in Environment: climate · ecosystem · nitrogen · pollution