UCI biologist among data contributors to large, unprecedented project
When Joleah Lamb strapped on a scuba tank and plunged into the ocean over a decade ago, it was the first of many expeditions to examine the effects of climate change and other human-produced factors on coral.
Now, 13 years after that foray, she has contributed one of the largest amounts of data to a landmark study on how to save coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Lamb, an assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine School of Biological Sciences, is among more than 80 marine researchers worldwide who produced the report. It has been published in Nature Ecology and Evolution (Link to study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0953-8)
The research encompassed over 2,500 reefs across 44 countries. Lamb provided its fourth-largest dataset, containing details on more than a million individual corals. Gathering the information required painstaking visual inspection, with Lamb and colleagues swimming underwater for as much as six hours each day. Armed with special measuring tapes, waterproof paper and pencils, they recorded information on each coral, meticulously identifying the size and health of more than 300 unique species.
Key to this study were observations of bleaching, a visible indication water is too warm. When temperatures rise, corals expel algae they normally depend on for energy. The depletion robs the corals of their color and turns them white. It also eventually starves them.
“There are efforts to use drones or satellites to collect this information, but you cannot get the high resolution needed to assess the vital complex architecture of reefs unless you are in the water,” said Lamb.
The scientists involved in the report say it’s not too late to save reefs if three strategies are immediately enacted in the Indo-Pacific. One is protecting from human impact those that are functioning, representing 17 percent of the reefs studied. Another is helping the 54 percent that are damaged but have the potential to recover. For 28 percent, it may be too late for rescue, which suggests some coastal societies will need to transition away from depending on them.
Lamb says Americans should be concerned about the research results. “There are a lot of reefs in our territories, such as Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam,” she said. “They all face severe impacts from the loss of coral reefs, including on coastal protection, food and income from tourism. And even if you don’t live close to a reef, carbon emissions contribute to climate change that harms corals worldwide.”
Besides university scientists, researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society, other non-profit organizations and governmental agencies participated in the study. The massive project demonstrates the need for collaboration in combatting environmental threats, she said.
“As scientists, we can tend to work in small domains and become microscopic in what we examine,” she added. “We can’t be that way anymore. We must work together on large global solutions that protect our world.”
Learn more: Study examines a million corals one by one in urgent call to save reefs
The Latest on: Saving coral reefs
[google_news title=”” keyword=”saving coral reefs” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Saving coral reefs
- Bring Back the Seabirds, Save the Climateon May 27, 2023 at 5:00 am
The number of oceangoing birds has declined 70 percent since the 1950s, but restoring their populations can bolster marine ecosystems that sequester carbon.
- Hawaii travel hack: How to save money on your hotel by adding a new experienceon May 25, 2023 at 5:25 pm
Hotels in Hawaii participate in a program that incentivizes visitors to give back to the community and get a discount in return.
- Help protect coral reefs through an AI projecton May 24, 2023 at 7:10 am
Coral reefs are some of the most vulnerable ecosystems on earth.But did you know you can help save the world's coral reefs by just listening with this new artificial intelligence or AI project?Google ...
- The Coral Rehabilitation Project Reviving the Maldives Reefson May 24, 2023 at 6:55 am
The Maldives islands are home to more than a thousand coral reefs, vibrant ecosystems that provide a home for marine life.
- Quriyat Divers remove over 500kg of marine waste to save coral reefson May 23, 2023 at 10:01 am
Ten members of a volunteer diving team removed over half a tonne of marine waste off the coast of Oman within the Muscat governorate ...
- UH uses AI to save Hawaiʻi’s coral reef colonieson May 21, 2023 at 12:24 pm
New technology may be the key to saving Hawaiʻi’s precious and threatened coral reef colonies. On Sunday, May 21, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa announced an innovation in marine conservation. Get ...
- Facial recognition tech could be key to saving coral reefson May 9, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The biggest stories of the day delivered to your inbox. By signing up to the Mashable newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from Mashable that may sometimes include ...
- How scientists are creating stronger coral reefs faster than everon April 20, 2023 at 1:57 pm
A new project in the Caribbean is setting out to save coral reefs – and the world. The Ocean-Shot Project, spearheaded by climate scientist Dr. Deborah Brosnan, launched in 2021 to develop a ...
- A look at how coral reefs are faringon April 20, 2023 at 1:51 am
Dear EarthTalk: What can we do to save dying coral reefs? — B.H. Jackson, Tullahoma, Tennessee Coral reefs around the world are indeed still at great risk. A comprehensive survey by Canadian ...
- Google wants you to save coral reefs (with AI's help)on April 17, 2023 at 5:15 pm
Google has teamed up with marine biologists in launching a new citizen-science, AI-powered platform allowing you to help save the world’s coral reefs — from the comfort of your couch.
via Bing News