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.”
The Latest on: Saving coral reefs
via Google News
The Latest on: Saving coral reefs
- MASSIVE GLOBAL REEF SURVEY RESULTS PUBLISHEDon October 26, 2021 at 7:38 am
Survey of the World’s Reefs Reveals Extent of Coral Reef Crisis. A scientist surveying a coral reef in the Chagos Archipelago (Photo: Ken Marks/Khaled bin Sultan Living ...
- Coral reefs: the fight to save the ocean's food factorieson October 26, 2021 at 6:01 am
The world's coral reefs are dying due to warming oceans and pollution. Ocean explores what's been done to preserve and bring coral back to life. #Ocean ...
- Shedd Aquarium study looks at heat-tolerant corals to help restore reefson October 25, 2021 at 11:52 am
A new, peer-reviewed study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B will help optimize the human interventions necessary to help corals survive the impacts of climate change.
- Can Lego save Singapore's coral reefs?on October 24, 2021 at 9:59 pm
Singapore is home to a third of the world's coral reefs - a staggering amount for a tiny country. Coral reefs protect the world's coastlines, are home to thousands of fishes and are a vital part of ...
- Lawmakers work together in bipartisan effort to save Florida’s coral reefson October 22, 2021 at 7:07 pm
Opposing Central Florida politicians have joined forces to pass legislation to save Florida’s coral from possible extinction.
- In a warming ocean, some corals are winners. UM study has insights on heat toleranceon October 22, 2021 at 8:03 am
For coral scientists trying to save the world’s reefs from climate change, the big existential question is: how to help these vital ecosystems withstand the heat of a warming ocean and resist a ...
- Finding Bright Spots in the Global Coral Reef Catastropheon October 21, 2021 at 4:45 am
The first-ever report on the world’s coral reefs presents a grim picture, as losses mount due to global warming. But there are signs of hope — some regions are having coral growth, and researchers ...
- How Cancer Research May Play A Role In Saving Hawaii’s Coral Reefson October 20, 2021 at 1:48 pm
A recent global report found that about 14% of the world's reefs were lost between 2008 and 2019, mainly due to mass bleaching caused by rising sea temperatures.
- Underwater coral gardens may help avoid a biodiversity meltdownon October 18, 2021 at 5:30 pm
A new study has found a promising possible solution for protecting coral reefs. Learn more about these underwater gardens.
- Intervention mission provides treatment for diseased coralon October 16, 2021 at 7:00 am
An emergency response mission to protect and save corals in Dry Tortugas National Park — arguably the most pristine in the Keys reef tract — recently exceeded expectations by treating ...
via Bing News