Global Warming May Help The Great Barrier Reef

by Editor

In a study published this week in Current Biology, found rising sea temperatures to be beneficial for some coral species. The large scale study found that some species declined in numbers, while others species were found to rise in numbers. The results of the study question claims of total coral destruction as a result of climate change. What the authors suggest is that as sea temperatures rise, the mix of coral species will change.

Climate Change Will Change Coral Species in Reefs

Rising ocean temperatures caused by climate change are unlikely to mean the end of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef, according to a new scientific study.

The Cell Press journal Current Biology this morning published what it says is the first large-scale investigation of climate effects on corals and found while some corals were dying, others were flourishing and adapting to the change in water temperatures.

For the study researchers identified and measured more than 35,000 coral colonies on 33 reefs across the length of the Great Barrier Reef to see how they were responding to warming ocean waters.

Researchers believe rising temperatures are unlikely to mean the end of the coral reef.

Rising ocean temperatures caused by climate change are unlikely to mean the end of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef, according to a new scientific study.

The Cell Press journal Current Biology this morning published what it says is the first large-scale investigation of climate effects on corals and found while some corals were dying, others were flourishing and adapting to the change in water temperatures.

For the study researchers identified and measured more than 35,000 coral colonies on 33 reefs across the length of the Great Barrier Reef to see how they were responding to warming ocean waters.

In results they have described as ‘‘surprising’’ the study found while one species declined in abundance, other species could rise in number.

One of the researchers, Professor Terry Hughes from James Cook University, said while critical issues remained he now believed rising temperatures were unlikely to mean the end of the coral reef.

‘‘The good news is that, rather than experiencing wholesale destruction, many coral reefs will survive climate change by changing the mix of coral species as the ocean warms and becomes more acidic,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s important for people who rely on the rich and beautiful coral reefs of today for food, tourism, and other livelihoods.’’

He said earlier studies of climate change and corals had been done on a much smaller geographical scale, with a primary focus on total coral cover or counts of species as rather crude indicators of reef health.

‘‘We chose the iconic Great Barrier Reef as our natural laboratory because water temperature varies by 8 to 9 degrees Celsius along its full length from summer to winter, and because there are wide local variations in pH,’’ he said.

‘‘Its regional-scale natural gradients encompass the sorts of conditions that will apply several decades from now under business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions.’’

The warming of the ocean’s temperatures due to climate change will change the composition of coral reefs and while this will mean the end for some species it will mean others are adapting to survive.

New Source: SMH 

What do you think about the results of this study? Do you think that rising sea temperatures will be beneficial for reefs around the world? Do you want the composition of coral in reefs to change?

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