Monday, December 26, 2016



Coral adaptability again

Easily able to cope with a bit of warming

Gene expression plasticity as a mechanism of coral adaptation to a variable environment

Carly D. Kenkel & Mikhail V. Matz

Abstract

Local adaptation is ubiquitous, but the molecular mechanisms that give rise to this ecological phenomenon remain largely unknown. A year-long reciprocal transplant of mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) between a highly environmentally variable inshore habitat and a more stable offshore habitat demonstrated that populations exhibit phenotypic signatures that are consistent with local adaptation. We characterized the genomic basis of this adaptation in both coral hosts and their intracellular symbionts (Symbiodinium sp.) using genome-wide gene expression profiling. Populations differed primarily in their capacity for plasticity: following transplantation to a novel environment, inshore-origin coral expression profiles became significantly more similar to the local population's profiles than those in offshore-origin corals. Furthermore, elevated plasticity of the environmental stress response expression was correlated with lower susceptibility to a natural summer bleaching event, suggesting that plasticity is adaptive in the inshore environment. Our results reveal a novel genomic mechanism of resilience to a variable environment, demonstrating that corals are capable of a more diverse molecular response to stress than previously thought.

Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0014 (2016).
doi:10.1038/s41559-016-0014

Wednesday, December 7, 2016



Greenie panic about Great Barrier Reef could harm tourism and agriculture

The Queensland and Federal Governments' reef 2050 progress report to UNESCO says land clearing is a significant challenge to future sustainability.

Scientists link land clearing to sediment runoff and poor water quality, and the report says it could put the reef on UNESCO's 'in danger' list.

Cynthia Sabag, who runs a tropical fruit farm halfway between Townsville and Cairns, said she is concerned about the health of the Great Barrier Reef, but does not think farming is to blame for its deterioration.

"It seems that agriculture has often been made the scapegoat in this debate," she said. "There was no evidence on our land that any of our farming was causing runoff, which would affect the Great Barrier Reef."

The State Government recently failed to pass laws to stop clearing, and now the Federal Government says it might intervene.

That would be a win for conservationists, but for Ms Sabag a return to more precarious times when she was not allowed to clear land for farming. "The way it was prior to the legislation, we had no hope whatsoever of ever selling our property and no hope of retiring, which is pretty demoralising," she said.

"This sort of has given us some hope, but we've lost 10 years of our life and 10 years of developing a property."

Agricultural industry body AgForce echoes Ms Sabag's concerns.

President Grant Maudsley said some politicians do not understand the challenges of managing rural properties.  "It's easy on the left side of politics ... to point at the bush and say the bush is doing the wrong things," he said. "It's simply not the case."

"We would prefer to go down a policy outcome ... and have a little talk about things, but to keep pointing the finger consistently time and time again at one issue as being the problem is rubbish."

Mr Maudsley hopes the reef will not make UNESCO's 'in danger' list and disputes evidence that land clearing is the problem.

"What we're all looking for is reducing runoff, but you don't do that by having all trees and all grass, you have a combination of both," he said. "If you have a complete tree landscape, you actually end up with a really high density of trees, which actually reduces the cover on the ground and water actually runs off."

Mr Maudsley also points out other sectors, including mining, have a role to play in restoring health to the reef.

Conservationists agree and criticise the report's failure to make any substantial policy commitments to dealing with climate change.

Imogen Zethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said reducing fossil fuels is a key part of that. "We really have to start taking some tough decisions, and one of them is that we really should not be opening up any new coal mines," Ms Zethoven said.

She is concerned about the proposed controversial Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which has just secured a rail line, a temporary construction camp and is now seeking federal government funding. "[It's a] devastating mine that will really spell disaster for the reef," she said.

"We are also extremely concerned that the Federal Government appears to be using taxpayer money to fund this reef-destroying project."

"We know that there is a serious issue with jobs in north Queensland, but it's not about any old job, it's the right job.

"It's about jobs that are in industries that are the future, like renewable energy, jobs that are in the tourism sector, which is growing, that will be terribly hurt if this massive Adani coal mine goes ahead."

If the reef is placed on the 'in danger' list it could potentially lose its world heritage status and that could have devastating impacts on the tourism sector.

Daniel Gschwind from Queensland's Tourism Industry Council said it could deter visitors and undermine Australia's reputation as a tourist destination.

"The money they spend on the visits to the reef, to Queensland, to north Queensland amounts to between $5-6 billion every year," Mr Gschwind said.

"That money circulates through local communities, regional communities, on and on, and it employs and generates employment for about 50,000 Queenslanders."

He said UNESCO's assessment is putting the international spotlight on Australia, and the next few years could see it emerge as either the hero or the villain of environmental management.

SOURCE

Wednesday, November 30, 2016



Another shriek about bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

This is just a repetition of a story that has been going on for a year or more.  Previous claims of this nature have been shown to be highly exaggerated so a repetition of the claims from the same people as before has no credibility. 

I was born and bred in an area close to the reef and have been hearing cries of alarm about the reef for 50 years.  But somehow the reef still seems to be there.  It has always had episodes of retreat but coral is highly resilient and bounces back quite rapidly.

One thing we can be sure of is that the problems were not caused by anthropogenic global warming.  Why?  Because that theory says that warming is caused by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  But the latest readings show NO increase in CO2 during 2015 and 2016

There WAS warming up until recently but that was caused by the El Nino weather cycle, not CO2. Once again we had the chronic Warmist problem that CO2 levels and temperatures do not correlate.  Below is a picture of the El Nino effect on global temperatures.  You see it peaked late last year and has been falling ever since.  So if warmth was the cause of the reef problems, the reef should soon start to recover




Two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the reef’s worst-ever bleaching event, according to our latest underwater surveys.

On some reefs in the north, nearly all the corals have died. However the impact of bleaching eases as we move south, and reefs in the central and southern regions (around Cairns and Townsville and southwards) were much less affected, and are now recovering.

In 2015 and 2016, the hottest years on record, we have witnessed at first hand the threat posed by human-caused climate change to the world’s coral reefs.

Heat stress from record high summer temperatures damages the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) that live in the tissues of corals, turning them white.

After they bleach, these stressed corals either slowly regain their zooxanthellae and colour as temperatures cool off, or else they die.

The Great Barrier Reef bleached severely for the first time in 1998, then in 2002, and now again in 2016. This year’s event was more extreme than the two previous mass bleachings.
Surveying the damage

We undertook extensive underwater surveys at the peak of bleaching in March and April, and again at the same sites in October and November. In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, we recorded an average (median) loss of 67% of coral cover on a large sample of 60 reefs.

The dieback of corals due to bleaching in just 8-9 months is the largest loss ever recorded for the Great Barrier Reef.

To put these losses in context, over the 27 years from 1985 to 2012, scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science measured the gradual loss of 51% of corals on the central and southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef.

They reported no change over this extended period in the amount of corals in the remote, northern region. Unfortunately, most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in this northern, most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy. Our map shows clearly that coral death varies enormously from north to south along the 2,300km length of the Reef.

The southern third of the Reef did not experience severe heat stress in February and March. Consequently, only minor bleaching occurred, and we found no significant mortality in the south since then.

In the central section of the Reef, we measured widespread but moderate bleaching, which was comparably severe to the 1998 and 2002 events. On average, only 6% of coral cover was lost in the central region in 2016.

The remaining corals have now regained their vibrant colour. Many central reefs are in good condition, and they continue to recover from Severe Tropical Cyclones Hamish (in 2009) and Yasi (2011).

In the eastern Torres Strait and outermost ribbon reefs in the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, we found a large swathe of reefs that escaped the most severe bleaching and mortality, compared to elsewhere in the north. Nonetheless, 26% of the shallow-water corals died.

We suspect that these reefs were partially protected from heat stress by strong currents and upwelling of cooler water across the edge of the continental shelf that slopes steeply into the Coral Sea.

For visitors, these surveys show there are still many reefs throughout the Marine Park that have abundant living coral, particularly in popular tourism locations in the central and southern regions, such as the Whitsundays and Cairns.

Darkspots

The northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, extending 700km from Port Douglas to Papua New Guinea, experienced the most severe bleaching and subsequent loss of corals.

On 25% of the worst affected reefs (the top quartile), losses of corals ranged from 83-99%. When mortality is this high, it affects even tougher species that normally survive bleaching.

However, even in this region, there are some silver linings. Bleaching and mortality decline with depth, and some sites and reefs had much better than average survival. A few corals are still bleached or mottled, particularly in the north, but the vast majority of survivors have regained their colour.

What will happen next?

The reef science and management community will continue to gather data on the bleaching event as it slowly unfolds. The initial stage focused on mapping the footprint of the event, and now we are analysing how many bleached corals died or recovered over the past 8-9 months.

Over the coming months and for the next year or two we expect to see longer-term impacts on northern corals, including higher levels of disease, slower growth rates and lower rates of reproduction. The process of recovery in the north – the replacement of dead corals by new ones – will be slow, at least 10-15 years, as long as local conditions such as water quality remain conducive to recovery.

As global temperatures continue to climb, time will tell how much recovery in the north is possible before a fourth mass bleaching event occurs.

SOURCE

Monday, November 28, 2016



Australian anti-immigration politician slips into wetsuit for barrier reef trip -- and finds that all is well with the reef

Most of the media have been amusing about this.  They say that she has embarrassed herself by not going to the "right" part of the reef.  But that claim is itself a message that only part of the reef is affected by bleaching.  We can perhaps be thankful to them for getting that message out to a wider audience. 

There are many possible causes of bleaching but the  loons of the Green/Left are sure it is caused by global warming.  And that might pass muster when we note that the bleaching has occurred in the most Northerly (and hence warmer) one-third of the reef.  Problem:  Coral LIKES warmth, which is why the Northern part of the reef normally has the greatest biological diversity.  Normally, the further North you go (i.e. the warmer you get), the greater the diversity.  So the cause of the bleaching is unknown. 

As a fallback position, the Greenies say that the bleaching is caused by agricultural runoff.  Problem: The Northern part of the reef runs along an area of the Cape York Peninsula where there is virtually NO agriculture.  The soils there are too poor for it to be economically feasible.  So no runoff.  "Facts be damned" seems to be the Greenie motto



Pauline Hanson has slipped into a wetsuit and made a splash on the Great Barrier Reef to show the world the natural wonder is worth visiting amid claims it is dying.

The senator, who once cooked fish for a living, went swimming off Great Keppel Island today and expressed concerns about reports on the reef's health.

Ms Hanson says agenda-driven groups are telling "untruths" about the state of the reef that are harming the tourism industry and businesses.  "When we have these agendas that are actually destroying our tourism industry and businesses ... we need to ask the questions and we want answers," she said. "The Greens have no concern about people and jobs that we need here in Queensland, and the escalating costs that we are feeling from the effects of this."

One Nation senators Malcolm Roberts, who has long argued the case that global warming doesn't stack up, and Brian Burston were also on the reef trip.

Mr Roberts said people had stopped coming to the reef because they were being told it was dead and that Australia should not be reporting on its health to the UN agency UNESCO.

Conservationists are concerned climate change is putting severe stress on the reef, which experienced a massive coral bleaching event this year, and some have declared it's dying at an unprecedented rate.

They say Ms Hanson and her senators visited the wrong part of the reef as the southern sections had been least affected by the worst bleaching event in the icon's history.

The World Wildlife Fund said One Nation should have visited Lizard Island where bleaching, caused by high water temperatures, has killed much of the coral.

SOURCE

Sunday, November 13, 2016



Why the death of coral reefs could be devastating for millions of humans

It certainly would be detrimental, though well within the human capacity to adapt.  But will it happen? Coral recovers quickly from bleaching and at Bikini atoll it even survived a thermonuclear hit on it!  If an H-bomb didn't kill it off, what would? Coral reefs have been around for millions of years and in some cases are today right where they always were.

They are however surrounded by Green/Left lies.  Australian Greenies claim that reef damage is caused by agricultural runoff.  Problem:  The current bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef is on its Northern third, along the coast of the Cape York Peninsula  -- and there are virtually no farms there.  Isn't reality pesky?

Coral does undergo bleaching from time to time in response to various stressors but bleaching is a defence mechanism, not death.

And even the first sentence below is a laugh.  Oceans CANNOT be both warmer and more acidic at the same time.  Warmer oceans outgas CO2, which is the alleged cause of the acidity. Just open a warm can of Coke someday if you doubt it. Physicists call it Henry's law.  There's no such thing as an honest Greenie as far as I can see.  You believe anything they say at your peril



Coral reefs around the globe already are facing unprecedented damage due to warmer and more acidic oceans. It’s not a problem that just affects the marine life that depends on them or deep-sea divers who visit them.

If carbon dioxide emissions continue to fuel the planet’s rising temperature, the widespread loss of coral reefs by 2050 could have devastating consequences for tens of millions of people, according to research published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS.

To better understand where those losses would hit hardest, an international group of researchers mapped places where people most need reefs for their livelihoods, particularly for fishing and tourism, as well as for shoreline protection. They combined those maps with others showing where coral reefs are most under stress from warming seas and ocean acidification.

Countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines would bear the brunt of the damage, the scientists found. So would coastal communities in western Mexico and parts of Australia, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. The problem would affect countries as massive as China and as small as the tiny island nation of Nauru in the South Pacific.

In many places, the loss of coral reefs would amount to an economic disaster, depriving fishermen of their main source of income, forcing people to find more expensive forms of protein, and undermining the tourism industry.

"It means jobs for lots of people," said Linwood Pendleton, the study’s lead author and an international chair at the European Institute of Marine Studies.

In addition, many countries depend on coral reefs as a key barrier to guard against incoming storms and mitigate the damage done by surging seas. Without healthy reefs, "you lose what is essentially a moving, undersea sea wall," said Pendleton, who estimated that about 62 million people live less than 33 feet above sea level and less than two miles from a coral reef. "The waves just come into shore full force. That can cause loss of life. It can cause loss of property."

Some of the countries most dependent on coral reefs are also among the largest polluters.

"Some of the places that have the most to lose . . . are also among the biggest carbon emitters," Pendleton said. "They really have it in their power to bring down the levels of carbon" they emit into the atmosphere.

Other countries that rely heavily on reefs, such as Fiji or Papua New Guinea, have relatively small carbon footprints. Still, Pendleton said they can take other measures — including not overfishing and avoiding pollution — to prevent putting further pressure on already stressed reefs.

The researchers acknowledged more study is needed to better understand both what is happening to coral reefs around the globe and how that will affect humans. But it can be difficult, they noted, because "carrying out science and data collection in many of the coral reef regions most at risk of global environmental change is a challenge." Many regions lack the capacity to do routine data collection, and scientists often have trouble getting permission to sample in coastal areas or where maritime jurisdictions are disputed.

While coral reefs traditionally have been resilient in the face of environmental pressures, mounting evidence suggests their ability to bounce back is limited.

This fall, scientists reported that substantial swaths of the Great Barrier Reef — the world’s largest coral reef system, located off Australia —might have died in the wake of a historic coral-bleaching event.

"The mortality is really devastating," Andrew Hoey, a senior research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland, told the Post last month as scientists worked to catalog the damage. "It’s a lot higher than we had hoped."

Earlier This spring, researchers discovered that parts of Florida’s coral reef tract — the largest reef in the continental United States and the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world — are actually dissolving into the water, likely because of the effects of ocean acidification.

Meanwhile, reefs around the US territory of Guam and other nearby islands, in what is known as the Marianas archipelago, have suffered from coral-bleaching events every year since 2013.

And there’s been no sign of a break this summer. After a recent dive in Guam’s Tumon Bay, coral ecologist Laurie Raymundo took to Facebook to describe her shock at the devastation.

"I consider myself to be fairly objective and logical about science," wrote Raymundo, of the University of Guam. "But sometimes that approach fails me. Today, for the first time in the 50 years I’ve been in the water, I cried for an hour, right into my mask, as I witnessed the extent to which our lovely Tumon Bay corals were bleaching and dying."

SOURCE


Sunday, October 30, 2016


Australia: New photos show worst coral bleaching to date: A third of the Great Barrier Reef is affected

You can of course prove anything with photos. The previous reports from this lot were found to be vastly exaggerated so this report should also be taken with a large grain of salt.  Reading between the lines, I gather that most of the reef has already recovered from the earlier bleaching but the recovery has been uneven so far.

More corals are dying and others are succumbing to disease and predators after the worst-ever bleaching on Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef.

A swathe of corals bleached in the northern third of the 1,429-mile (2,300-kilometre) long biodiverse site off the Queensland state coast died after an unprecedented bleaching earlier this year as sea temperatures rose.

And researchers who returned to the region to survey the area this month said 'many more have died more slowly'.

On the surface, coral bleaching looks like white, bleached-out coral reefs - quite a departure from the usual colourful structures.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

Andrew Hoey, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said: 'In March, we measured a lot of heavily bleached branching corals that were still alive, but we didn't see many survivors this week.

'On top of that, snails that eat live coral are congregating on the survivors, and the weakened corals are more prone to disease. 'A lot of the survivors are in poor shape.'

Greg Torda, whose team recently returned from re-surveying reefs near Lizard Island, said the amount of live coral covering the island fell from about 40 per cent in March to under five per cent.

It is the third time in 18 years that the World Heritage-listed site, which teems with marine life, has experienced mass bleaching after previous events in 1998 and 2002.

The researchers said even though they were still assessing the final death toll from bleaching in the north, 'it is already clear that this event was much more severe than the two previous bleachings'. They expect to complete all their surveys by mid-November.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 435-mile (700-kilometre) section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition', the scientists added.

'As we expected from the geographic pattern of bleaching, the reefs further south are in much better shape,' said Andrew Baird, who led the re-surveys of reefs in the central section.

'There is still close to 40 per cent coral cover at most reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef, and the corals that were moderately bleached last summer have nearly all regained their normal colour.'

The reef is already under pressure from farming run-off, development, the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish as well as the impacts of climate change, with a government report last week painting a bleak picture of the natural wonder.

SOURCE

Tuesday, October 18, 2016




No, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is NOT dead. But it is in trouble


The writer makes only a small obeisance to Warmism below.  He says that the ocean is warming overall.  He does not mention that such warming is only in hundredths of a degree

Perhaps you’ve heard that the epic, 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef in Australia has died.

Perhaps you have read its obituary by writer Rowan Jacobsen on the website Outside Online.

But before you start mourning the loss of what Jacobsen calls "one of the most spectacular features on the planet," the community of scientists that study coral reefs in the Pacific ocean would like you to hold up, slow down, and take a deep breath.

The news isn’t good, but it may not be as dire as the obituary may have you believe.

"For those of us in the business of studying and understanding what coral resilience means, the article very much misses the mark," said Kim Cobb, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. "It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know and don’t know about coral resilience."

Cobb spoke to the LA Times about the state of the world’s largest reef system, and why there is reason for both concern and hope.
It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know ... about coral resilience. — Kim Cobb

Is the Great Barrier Reef dead? No. It’s not. We just had a massive bleaching event, but we know from past research that corals are able to recover from the brink of death.

So bleached corals aren’t dead corals? That’s right. There’s lots of confusion about what bleaching means.

Coral is an animal, and the animal exists in symbiosis with photosynthetic algae. The algae provides food for the coral in exchange for a great home. But when the water gets too warm, the algae become chemically destructive to the coral.

When that happens, the coral convulses and spits out puffs of algae to protect itself. That removes all the color from the coral tissue which is transparent, allowing you to see right through to the underlying skeleton. So you are not necessarily seeing dead coral, you’re really just seeing clear coral without its algae.

But bleaching is still bad, right?

Bleaching events are worrisome because if the coral misses this key food source from the algae for too long it will literally starve to death. But, if the water temperature comes back down, it will welcome the algae back. The key is that the water temperature change has to be relatively quick.

When was the massive bleaching event?

It started with the Hawaiian islands bleaching in the early part of 2015 due to a moderate El Nino event in 2014-2015. After that there was the build up to the massive El Nino that culminated in the warmest ocean waters during the November 2015 time frame.

Unfortunately, these warm waters didn’t release their grip on many of the Pacific reefs until the spring of 2016, so that’s nine months of pretty consistently high temperatures. That is a long time for a coral to be in a mode of starvation.

Has the Great Barrier Reef been through anything like this before?

It has had very severe bleaching events associated with large El Ninos like we had last year, but the problem is we are seeing baseline ocean temperatures getting warmer every year. When you pile a strong El Nino on top of this ever warming trend, you get more extreme and more prolonged bleaching episodes.

What was striking about this year was the extent of the damage. It was staggering. By important metrics the ’97-’98 El Nino was bigger,  but the damage from this last one was far more extensive.

So how can you remain hopeful about the fate of Great Barrier Reef and other reefs in the Pacific?

I work on a research site in the Christmas Islands that is literally smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and which was much more devastated than the Great Barrier Reef. It was worse off than any reef in the world with up to 85% mortality. But even in the face of that whole-scale destruction, we saw individual corals that were still alive, looking like nothing had happened.

I cling to that. I know from my own site that there is a lot more resilience baked into the system then we can hope to understand right now and that out of the rubble will come a reef that may not look exactly like it looked before, but may be better adapted for future temperature change

SOURCE

Sunday, October 16, 2016



Can the Great Barrier Reef be saved? Uproar as writer claims world’s largest living structure is DEAD

We went through all this a few months ago.  The galoots below are just catching up. To summarize:  The tourism operators in Far North Queensland  -- who go to the reef daily -- were all amazed to hear this guff.  The reef does undergo bleaching (which in NOT "death") from time to time but not all parts are affected.  So they did their own survey and found that only a relatively small part of the reef was bleached at the time:  A MUCH smaller part than what the Greenies claim.

They have NO difficulty in finding parts of the reef where they can take their tourist boats and show visitors the reef in all its glory. The main departure point for the reef is the city of Cairns and the tourism industry there at the moment is booming.

The Greenie claim is that agricultural runoff is killing the reef but the main area of coral bleaching at the moment is parallel with the Northern half on Cape York peninsula, where there are essentially NO farms -- So it's ideology, not reality speaking



The Great Barrier Reef was once a scene of thriving coral, but one environmental writer has claimed it is now beyond help.

'The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old,' wrote Rowan Jacobsen in Outside magazine.

Recent pictures show many parts of the reef appear full of swampy algae, brown sludge and rubble, and it is estimated 93 per cent of Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching, which can kill corals.

In his 'obituary', Jacobson wrote 'The Great Barrier Reef was predeceased by the South Pacific’s Coral Triangle, the Florida Reef off the Florida Keys, and most other coral reefs on earth.

'It is survived by the remnants of the Belize Barrier Reef and some deepwater corals.'

However, a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority report released this week said its preliminary findings show 22 per cent of coral on the Reef died due to the worst mass bleaching event on record.

However, that's not to say the remaining coral is not in dire trouble.

A destructive bleaching process has already affected about 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef as of April this year, according to scientists at James Cook University.

The latest before and after shots of the devastating effect of coral loss in the tropical far north Queensland in recent years.

With the December 1 deadline looming, Australia must report to the UNESCO to demonstrate an investment strategy to save the Reef.

WWF-Australia spokesman Sean Hoobin said while there was no scientific study on what killed coral in this specific area, the pictures were indicative of what was happening along the Reef's coast.

'Inshore reefs along the coast are deteriorating and studies say sediment, fertiliser and pesticide run off are taking a toll on coral,' Mr Hoobin said.

An independent report estimated it would cost $8.2 billion to achieve most of the water quality targets for the Reef that governments have committed to deliver by 2025.

'Stopping water pollution will help restore the beautiful coral gardens choked by runoff. This image drives home what a big job we face,' Mr Hoobin said.

'Australia must commit the $8.2 billion as a national priority to protect the Reef and the tourism jobs that rely on it.

This comes as coral samples dating back thousands of years show evidence of the human impact on the Reef, researchers have claimed.

University of Queensland Professor Gregg Webb said coral 'cores' taken from along the Queensland coastline showed definable difference in trace element chemistry, including those linked to European arrival in Australia.

'We can look at ancient events where they're been stressed by bad water, high nutrients, but also just sediment load and see what killed them, what was sub-lethal, how common events are, and just get an idea of what the reef can handle,' he said

More HERE 

Sunday, September 11, 2016



New amazing discovery:  Warming is GOOD for coral

I have been pointing that out for years

Coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef grow better in the summer and in northern areas, a major ocean chemistry monitoring project has found.

The Future Reef 2.0 project is helping to identify which parts of the reef are most vulnerable to ocean acidification change and has just been extended for another three years.

CSIRO scientists have been running an advanced sensor system from a Rio Tinto vessel as part of the research, which also involves the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

CSIRO ocean carbon research scientist Dr Bronte Tilbrook said the research has found ocean chemistry remains positive for coral growth.

Dr Tilbrook said it had also found there were strong seasonal changes, with the best coral growing conditions in summer.

Conditions were also better in the outer regions of the reef and there was more coral growth in the northern parts, he said.

Specifically, the project has been examining how the entire reef is responding to ocean acidification, bleaching and cyclones.

"The data is going to help us understand how the reef is growing and how it's responding to certain stresses," he told AAP.

"We need to get the big picture and that's the thing the ship is allowing us to do."

SOURCE


Friday, August 26, 2016



Lying Greenie alarmists found out:  Reef tourism operators find less than five per cent of coral dead under ‘extreme’ bleaching

REEF tourism operators have found less than five per cent of coral has died off — compared to the 50 to 60 per cent estimated by scientists — under "extreme" mass coral bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Latest findings exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail show coral mortality in the outer shelf reefs north of Lizard Island was between one and five per cent with "spectacular" fish life and coral coverage.

Teams of divers in a joint two-week expedition sponsored by Mike Ball Dive and Spirit of Freedom surveyed 28 sites on 24 outer shelf reefs along a 300km section of the hardest-hit part of the reef from Bathurst Head to Raine Island.

Spirit of Freedom owner Chris Eade said reports of 93 per cent bleaching on the 2300km long Great Barrier Reef had made global headlines and damaged the reputation of the $5 billion reef tourism industry.

"Scientists had written off that entire northern section as a complete white-out," Mr Eade said.  "We expected the worst. But it is tremendous condition, most of it is pristine, the rest is in full recovery.  "It shows the resilience of the reef."

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operations manager Craig Stephen, who conducted a similar survey on the remote reefs 20 years ago, said there had been almost no change in two decades despite the latest coral bleaching event.

"It wasn’t until we got underwater that we could get a true picture of what percentage of reef was bleached," Mr Stephen said. "The discrepancy is phenomenal. It is so wrong. Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs. "There has been a great disservice to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism and it has not been good for our industry."

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimated a mass coral white-out of between 50 to 60 per cent, on average, for reefs off Cape York under the world’s biggest-ever mass coral bleaching event.

Scientists with the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported about 35 per cent mortality but warned "the final death toll" on some reefs may exceed 90 per cent.

In April, aerial and underwater surveys of 522 reefs in the northern sector showed 81 per cent had been severely bleached and one per cent not bleached.

Professor Terry Hughes, convener of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, at the time said "it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once."

Professor Hughes yesterday welcomed the positive news but had not yet seen the latest survey findings. "We won’t know the true coral mortality until we can get back up there in October and compare before and after impacts from our March survey," Prof Hughes said.

"Those coral will either survive or more will die."

A GBRMPA spokeswoman said they would closely examine the findings of the first independent expedition into the isolated region.  "Obviously if they’ve found reefs with a lower than expected mortality rate that is fabulous news," she said.

"Our initial findings noted that the level of bleaching and mortality was expected to be very variable across the entire reef system."

SOURCE