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coral reefs

This tag is associated with 19 posts

New Nitrogen in Town: Nitrogen Deposition on the Open Ocean

Life in the ocean depends on a variety of nutrients, an important one being nitrogen. Phytoplankton, at the bottom of the oceanic food chain, require it to photosynthesize. Burning fossil fuels releases nitrogen into the atmosphere, and a portion of it is known to settle into the ocean. Has the ocean started to show signs of change as a result?

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

Warm water curtails sea snakes’ dives

Like frogs, sea snakes can uptake oxygen through both their lungs and their skin. How will these “bimodal breathers” cope with warm ocean temperatures?

Do coral reefs help fight climate change?

Coral reefs are called the rainforests of the sea for their stunning biodiversity. But can they, like forests on land, absorb CO2 and help reduce global warming?

Changing with the environment: how resilient are coral reef fish?

Coral reef fish are some of the most sensitive animals to climate change. How will coral reef fish respond to predicted increases in temperature and carbon dioxide? Do they have the ability to adapt to future conditions or is it already too late?

The importance of sea urchins

A look into Valeska’s graduate research. Why coral reefs depend on the long spined black sea urchin for survival.

Better Together: Mutualisms contribute to reef fish recruitment

All other things being equal, would you rather live where mutually beneficial relationships are available or where they aren’t? Well, if you’re like me, you’d prefer beneficial relationships. And I’m not alone in that. It turns out that damselfish on reefs prefer to settle where there are cleaner wrasses to keep them parasite-free. Read on to find out more!

Wake-up Call: Global Oceans in Big Trouble!

Our global oceans are in a state of crisis. A new report from the WWF paints a bleak picture: human interference has pushed the oceans to the brink of collapse. The health of marine organisms and the habitats they live in have become severely threatened by compounding factors such as pollution, overfishing and increased CO2 input. This situation is urgent and requires global awareness and swift action. The ocean is changing at a rapid pace before our eyes and we can no longer waste time.

The barrels of the sea; giant barrel sponges that is

Giant barrel sponges are understudied compared to many other marine organisms, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Climate change has taken its toll on the Florida Keys coral reefs, but the giant barrel sponge has proven to be a hearty animal, growing in size and population.

Corals better learn to keep up or they may drown!

The coral reefs protecting many islands in the Pacific need to grow quickly in order to keep up with the rising sea levels and increasing ocean temperatures. As of now, researchers are optimistic that some species of corals are up to this challenge, but that relies on the rate of sea level rise.

Switching it up: When do predation and habitat control damselfish abundance?

Another tale of how the loss of predators due to overfishing might impact coral reefs, but this one has a twist! Instead of the emphasis being on who’s eating whom, prey fish behavior is the key to what happens to the corals! Learn more in today’s oceanbites!

An exact replica of a coral reef right in the office!

In order to better understand coral reef complexity and structure researchers developed a cost effective way to 3D print coral reefs. Using these 3D models, researchers were able to dissect the complexity of coral reefs and better understand their intricate growth patterns.

Sponges Out of Control: Another Effect of Overfishing

When you think about threats to coral reefs, you don’t think “Sponges!”, do you? But you might come up with “overfishing.” While the overfishing of herbivorous (algae-eating) species has grabbed attention, we may need to consider the loss of sponge-eating fish too. Check out some new research that shows an increase in sponge-coral interactions where fishing activity is intense!

A new thermally tolerant species of algae is found!

Rising ocean temperatures threaten coral reefs, but a new thermal tolerant algae could help.

Is a coral’s color all for show?

Two of the exact same corals, sitting right next to each other, often appear to be different based on their colors. Why is this? Scientists have shown that the answer involves intriguing genetics. The more genes a coral activates, the greater their strength of color.

The Rumble in the Coral Jungle? How reef degradation is impacting damselfish competition

Two fish enter. One fish leaves…but, according to new research, that may no longer be the case in degraded habitats.

Local natural resource management can combat the effects of global environmental disturbances

Global environmental problems can’t be solved overnight by one person, but there are things we can do locally to positively impact natural resource supplies in the midst of these large-scale problems. This article describes one successful strategy used to increase fishing revenues in southern Kenya.

The Language of Fishes

Coral reefs are composed of hundreds of different species, who all use different acoustics to communicate, just like we use different languages around the world to communicate. Researchers set out to better understand and record the language of fishes in hopes of building a species-specific soundscape of the coral reef community.

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