Friday, December 13, 2013
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority scientists say baby corals are blooming on the Great Barrier Reef
GBRMPA and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have carried out their second inspection of a series of reefs between Townsville and Tully, in the wake of cyclone Yasi.
GBRMPA's Climate Change and Ecosystems Manager Roger Beeden has been heading up the survey and says that the coral bloomings are a positive sign of recovery.
"We are seeing baby corals in some of the shallows and also in some of the deeper areas," he said.
"It is showing that even though it has had multiple impacts in the last few years, it is able to bounce back.
"It has got that natural resilience to recover, provided it doesn't get hit with too many other events."
Mr Beeden says many parts of the reef looked like "moonscapes" when they surveyed after cyclone Yasi.
"Even though coral are animals it was akin to seeing a whole forest knocked down in lots of places," he said.
"That was really, almost heart breaking for many of us to see, and yet two years on we are beginning to see lots of the early signs of recovery."
Mr Beeden says it is not just wind from the cyclones that causes damage to the coral.
"During cyclone Yasi ... there were some monitoring stations that are out on reefs and there was actually mixing in the water down to 200 metres in some places," he said.
"So it was a huge event in terms of moving water around and it is that water movement that caused the damage to about 15 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef."
Mr Beeden says it is good news for fast growing coral, but there are slower growing coral that need more time.
"In the fast growing ones we can begin to see quite good recovery in 5-10 years, but in the really big ones, the kind of huge, great big trees if you like, actually can take decades to centuries to recover," he said.
"What we are seeing now is actually the ones that are 2 or 3 years old, so they are actually the ones that have spawned after cyclone yasi and you can actually visibly see them now on the reef."
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Hoagy is at it again
After his own research showed that corals recover rapidly from damage, Hoagy went quiet for a couple of years -- but it looks like he is back at his old stand now. And even his fellow Warmists are predicting a temp rise of less than 4 degrees. And guess where corals thrive best -- in the warmest waters! Hoagy is a crook!
RISING sea temperatures might sound nice for us wanting to go for a warmer dip, but it could kill off the Great Barrier Reef by the end of the century, a scientist claims in a new book.
The coral would have to move 4000km southward over 100 years to survive scientists' worst-case scenario of a 4C degree rise in sea temperatures by 2100, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says.
In his book, Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World, the University of Queensland reef specialist says the outlook for the reef is bleak.
"In a four-degree world, the Great Barrier Reef will be great no longer. It would bear little resemblance to the reef we know today," he wrote.
"There is little evidence that marine resources like the Great Barrier Reef possess the resilience to withstand the impacts of a dramatically warming world." Even a more conservative 2C temperature rise estimate would likely be too much for the reef to handle, he wrote.
The death of the almost 2300km-long reef would destroy its $6 billion tourism industry as well as other areas like fishing. The book looks at how Australia will adapt to a warmer and drier climate in the next 100 years.
Warmer and more acidic seawater is a knock-on effect of increased atmospheric carbon levels.
Prof Hoegh-Guldberg wrote that sea temperatures rose by 0.5C in the 20th century but the effect is expected to speed up this century.
The result is that coral cannot move fast enough to cooler southern seas or genetically adapt fast enough to stay where they are.
"Unless we dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions which are acidifying our oceans and leading to their warming, we will face the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and serious decline in our marine resources," he wrote.
Coastal developments approved in Qld.
Greenies will all be holding their breath at the moment -- building up to a massive tanty. Note that Gladstone is South of the GBR anyway. There is no reef to speak of offshore from Gladstone
Several massive resource projects have been approved on the Great Barrier Reef coast by the federal government including the dredging and dumping of spoil near the reef and a new coal export terminal.
Environmentalists have hit out at the decision, with the WWF and the Greens saying it further industrialises and threatens the world heritage protected icon. Environmental campaigners Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, dressed as Nemo and turtles, will protest against the approval in Brisbane's CBD on Wednesday.
The projects approved by Environment Minister Greg Hunt late on Tuesday include the dredging of 3 million cubic metres of spoil - which will be dumped in the reef's waters - for the development of three coal export terminals at Abbot Point.
Mr Hunt also approved the building of a new coal terminal at Abbot Point by Indian mining giant Adani.
Approval was also given to a new processing plant for coal seam gas on Curtis Island, which includes 1.4 million cubic metres of dredging at Port Curtis and the mouth of the Calliope River near Gladstone. A pipeline to the plant - being proposed by Arrow Energy - was also approved.
In making the decision Mr Hunt said he had imposed 148 strict environmental conditions on the Abbot Point and Curtis Island developments. They included conditions to ensure the water quality impact from the dumping of dredging spoil was offset.
Mr Hunt said the offsets - which would stop sediments entering the Great Barrier Reef marine park from land sources such as farm runoff - would require an overall gain in water quality.
"It is important to note that each of these sites is already heavily industrialised and that the processes were highly advanced at the change of government," Mr Hunt said.
"The conditions I have put in place for these projects will result in an improvement in water quality and strengthen the Australian government's approach to meeting the challenges confronting the reef."
Water quality is a significant problem for the Great Barrier Reef with increasing pollutants and nutrients resulting in damage to corals, sea grass and other important marine habitats. There is also emerging evidence that poor water quality can encourage populations of a damaging starfish know as crown of thorns that has plagued the reef.
The World Heritage Committee has also been alarmed by increasing development on the reef's coast - with a number of major resource projects approved in recent years - and will consider in 2014 whether it should be placed on an "in danger" list of world heritage sites.
Richard Leck from WWF said Mr Hunt had failed the reef and had turned his back on scientific evidence of the damage dredging would cause.
"Approving a massive amount of sediment to be dumped at a time when the reef's health is so low, it really is against what the science tells us," he said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche welcomed the decision and said it confirmed that industry could co-exist with the reef.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Mega-pesky! New paper 'unexpectedly' finds CO2 and 'acidification' dramatically IMPROVED fish reproduction in coral reefs
A paper published today in Global Change Biology finds that increased dissolved CO2 and decreased pH [so-called "acidification"] had the completely unexpected result of dramatically increasing reproduction [by 82%] in a coral reef fish. According to the authors, "This study provides the first evidence of the potential effects of ocean acidification on key reproductive attributes of marine fishes and, contrary to expectations, demonstrates an initially stimulatory (hormetic) effect in response to increased pCO2."
Increased CO2 stimulates reproduction in a coral reef fish
Gabrielle M. Miller et al
Ocean acidification is predicted to negatively impact the reproduction of many marine species, either by reducing fertilization success or diverting energy from reproductive effort. While recent studies have demonstrated how ocean acidification will affect larval and juvenile fishes, little is known about how increasing partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and decreasing pH might affect reproduction in adult fishes. We investigated the effects of near-future levels of pCO2 on the reproductive performance of the cinnamon anemonefish, Amphiprion melanopus, from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Breeding pairs were held under three CO2 treatments (Current-day Control (430μatm), Moderate (584μatm) and High (1032μatm)) for a 9-month period that included the summer breeding season. Unexpectedly, increased CO2 dramatically stimulated breeding activity in this species of fish. Over twice as many pairs bred in the Moderate (67% of pairs) and High (55%) compared to the Control (27%) CO2 treatment. Pairs in the High CO2 group produced double the number of clutches per pair and 67% more eggs per clutch compared to the Moderate and Control groups. As a result, reproductive output in the High group was 82% higher than the Control group and 50% higher than the Moderate group. Despite the increase in reproductive activity, there was no difference in adult body condition between the three treatment groups. There was no significant difference in hatchling length between the treatment groups, but larvae from the High CO2 group had smaller yolks than Controls. This study provides the first evidence of the potential effects of ocean acidification on key reproductive attributes of marine fishes and, contrary to expectations, demonstrates an initially stimulatory (hormetic) effect in response to increased pCO2. However, any long-term consequences of increased reproductive effort on individuals or populations remains to be determined.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Just Greenies at work trying to impose their anti-human values on everyone else. To them, no proof is needed that human activity is harming the reef. That is just axiomatic to them -- they just want to stop everything. There's no such thing as a happy Greenie
THE Great Barrier Reef is set to be named as a World Heritage Site in danger by UNESCO next month.
A long-awaited assessment of the reef by UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), released on Friday evening, says decisive action must be taken to avoid a listing in June.
The report claims the federal and Queensland governments have failed to improve water quality or halt coastal developments that could impact the reef.
Only one annual water quality report card has been published, in 2011, which covered 2009. A second report card was due in early 2012, but it's yet to be delivered.
The report also says there's been no clear commitment by the either federal or Queensland governments to limit port developments near the reef. Instead about 43 proposals are under assessment.
"The above-mentioned issues represent a potential danger to the outstanding universal value of the property," the report said.
"The World Heritage Centre and IUCN ... recommend that the committee consider the Great Barrier Reef for inscription on the list of World Heritage in Danger ... in absence of a firm and demonstrable commitment on these priority issues."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the Federal Government was committed to keeping the reef a great heritage area for the world.
"In the last couple of weeks I announced a $200 million reef rescue commitment," she told reporters in Melbourne. "We are very committed and we'll continue to pursue those kind of commitments in the future."
But Greens Senator Larissa Waters called on Liberal and Labor to support a Senate bill which would adopt the World Heritage Committee's recommendations as law.
"The Newman and Gillard governments have continued to fast-track mega industrial ports alongside the reef," she said. "Protecting the Great Barrier Reef must be beyond politics and all parties should support my bill."
World Wildlife Fund spokesman Richard Leck said UNESCO had put Australia in the sin bin. "We will likely see a reef showdown this June," he told AAP.
The only other world heritage sites in danger that aren't in a developing country or an active war zone are the UK's Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City and Florida's Everglades.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Amid all the flim-flam below there is only one solid fact: Corals can survive higher temperatures -- as has often been shown elsewhere
Experts say that more than half of the world's coral reefs could disappear in the next 50 years, in large part because of higher ocean temperatures caused by climate change. But now Stanford University scientists have found evidence that some coral reefs are adapting and may actually survive global warming.
"Corals are certainly threatened by environmental change, but this research has really sparked the notion that corals may be tougher than we thought," said Stephen Palumbi, a professor of biology and a senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment.
Palumbi and his Stanford colleagues began studying the resiliency of coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean in 2006 with the support of a Woods Institute Environmental Venture Project grant. The project has expanded and is now being funded by Conservation International and the Bio-X program at Stanford.
"The most exciting thing was discovering live, healthy corals on reefs already as hot as the ocean is likely to get 100 years from now," said Palumbi, director of Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station. "How do they do that?"
Coral reefs form the basis for thriving, healthy ecosystems throughout the tropics. They provide homes and nourishment for thousands of species, including massive schools of fish, which in turn feed millions of people across the globe.
Corals rely on partnerships with tiny, single-celled algae called zooxanthellae. The corals provide the algae a home, and, in turn, the algae provide nourishment, forming a symbiotic relationship. But when rising temperatures stress the algae, they stop producing food, and the corals spit them out. Without their algae symbionts, the reefs die and turn stark white, an event referred to as "coral bleaching."
During particularly warm years, bleaching has accounted for the deaths of large numbers of corals. In the Caribbean in 2005, a heat surge caused more than 50 percent of corals to bleach, and many still have not recovered, according to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, an international collaboration of government officials, policymakers and marine scientists, including Palumbi.
Havens of healthy reefs
In recent years, scientists discovered that some corals resist bleaching by hosting types of algae that can handle the heat, while others swap out the heat-stressed algae for tougher, heat-resistant strains. Palumbi's team set out to investigate how widely dispersed these heat-tolerant coral reefs are across the globe and to learn more about the biological processes that allow them to adapt to higher temperatures.
In 2006, Palumbi and graduate student Tom Oliver, now a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, traveled to Ofu Island in American Samoa. Ofu, a tropical coral reef marine reserve, has remained healthy despite gradually warming waters.
The island offered the perfect laboratory setting, Oliver said, with numerous corals hosting the most common heat-sensitive and heat-resistant algae symbionts. Ofu also has pools of varying temperatures that allowed the research team to test under what conditions the symbionts formed associations with corals.
In cooler lagoons, Oliver found only a handful of corals that host heat-resistant algae exclusively. But in hotter pools, he observed a direct increase in the proportion of heat-resistant symbionts, suggesting that some corals had swapped out the heat-sensitive algae for more robust types. These results, combined with regional data from other sites in the tropical Pacific, were published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series in March 2009.
To see if this pattern exists on a global scale, the researchers turned to Kevin Arrigo, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford and an expert on remote satellite sensing of marine microalgae. Arrigo gathered worldwide oceanographic data on a variety of environmental variables, including ocean acidity, the frequency of weather events and sea-surface temperature.
Oliver then compiled dozens of coral reef studies from across the tropics and compared them to Arrigo's environmental data. The results revealed the same pattern: In regions where annual maximum ocean temperatures were above 84 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit (29 to 31 degrees Celsius), corals were avoiding bleaching by hosting higher proportions of the heat-resistant symbionts.
Most corals bleach when temperatures rise 1.8 F (1 C) above the long-term normal highs. But heat-tolerant symbionts might allow a reef to handle temperatures up to 2.6 F (1.5 C) beyond the bleaching threshold. That might be enough to help get them through the end of the century, Oliver said, depending on the severity of global warming.
A 2007 report by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change concluded that the average surface temperature of the Earth is likely to increase 3.6 to 8.1 F (2 to 4.5 C) by 2100. In this scenario, the symbiont switch alone may not be enough to help corals survive through the end of the century. But with the help of other adaptive mechanisms, including natural selection for heat-tolerant corals, there is still hope, Oliver said.
"These findings show that, given enough time, many corals can match hotter environments by hosting heat-resistant symbionts," he explained. "While hopeful, the work also suggests that modern environments are changing so rapidly that corals may not be able to keep up. It comes down to a calculation of the rates of environmental change versus the rates of adaptation."
Heat-resistant corals also turn out to be more tolerant of increases in ocean acidity, which occurs when the ocean absorbs excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere--another potential threat to coral reefs. This finding suggests that corals worldwide are adapting to increases in acidity as well as heat, Oliver said, and that across the tropics, corals with the ability to switch symbionts will do so to survive.
The problem of coral bleaching comes down to a collapse of the algae at the cellular level, Oliver explained. But the molecular biology of corals and their zooxanthellae under stress is shockingly understudied, he added.
To examine the corals and their symbionts at the molecular level, the researchers are collaborating with John Pringle, a professor of genetics at Stanford. Pringle and his lab have set up tanks where anemones, corals and their algae are exposed to a variety of treatments, including changes in temperature, acidity and light. That research is ongoing.
"What I hope is that we will learn some really deep and interesting things about the cellular and genetic mechanisms that allow this symbiosis to function, and about the mechanisms that come into play when the symbiosis is breaking down under stress," Pringle said. "The longer-range hope is that having that understanding will contribute to efforts in coral conservation."
The ultimate goal is to find protein biomarkers that indicate signs of heat stress and potential heat resistance, Oliver explained. Then coral reef managers could go to a reef, take small coral samples and test for the presence of the biomarkers to see how resilient the reef will be to higher temperatures.
"With this tool, managers could identify existing populations that may be more resistant to climate change and potentially prioritize their protection from everything else that kills coral reefs, like fishing and [agricultural] runoff," Oliver said.
"Although we are doing things to the planet we have never done before, it's hard to imagine that these corals, which have existed for a quarter of a billion years, only have 50 years left," Palumbi said. "And part of our job might be to figure out where the tougher ones live and protect those places."
Thursday, April 18, 2013
And the experiment makes it look like coral reefs will be in trouble if the much-foretold global warming ever arrives. Would Warmists ever get any other result?
In real-life, however, corals survive well in a whole range of temperatures. Australia's Great Barrier reef stretches over 1600 miles roughly North to South, including temperate zones and near-equatorial zones. It is one vast natural experiment on the effect of temperature variation on coral growth. And guess where in those 1600 miles corals grow best? The warmest part!
So the Warmists on the reef fiddle around with fishtanks and ignore the reality out the window. What a joke! But reality never has suited the Green/Left
Scientists have been worried about coral reefs for years, since realizing that rising temperatures and rising ocean acidity are hard on organisms that build their skeletons from calcium carbonate. Researchers on Australia's Great Barrier Reef are conducting an experiment that demonstrates just how much corals could suffer in the coming decades.
As we burn fossil fuels - we're talking about oil, gas and coal - carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere. Now, there are debates about how quickly that is changing the global climate, but there is no question that billions of tons of carbon dioxide have soaked into the ocean. That's making waters more acidic, which puts some ocean ecosystems at risk, particularly coral reefs. We sent NPR science correspondent Richard Harris to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to look into these consequences. His first stop was a research station on Heron Island.
RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: Heron Island is surrounded by a reef that is home to sea turtles, sharks, rays, brilliantly colored fish, and hundreds of other species. The spectacular scenery draws snorkelers from around the world. The island also hosts one of the world's major coral reef labs, run by the University of Queensland, and research there shows that the reefs are in trouble. Scientist Sophie Dove plunges her arms into a tank the size of a kettle drum.
SOPHIE DOVE: OK. We'll start with the plates. Uh-huh.
HARRIS: She and research assistant Annamieke van den Heuvel are weighing chunks of coral.
ANNAMIEKE VAN DEN HEUVEL: Two hundred and forty-six point nine.
DOVE: Do you want to just check the zero when I take this away?
HARRIS: Dove has recreated a simplified version of the coral ecosystem in a dozen large tanks.
DOVE: And so in each tank here we basically - I can lift up the lid - this is one of our - this is our present-day tank, if you like.
HARRIS: The water temperature and the carbon dioxide levels match the conditions on the present-day reef.
DOVE: We've got little mushroom corals, fungia, brain corals, stylophera pistolata there. It's a very common coral around the world. We've got these corals that look like bunches of flowers. They're called lobophelia.
HARRIS: The corals in this tank look healthy. And as she weighs them, she seems that they've been growing since she transplanted them here nearly a year ago. Then she opens the next tank.
DOVE: We'll hop from present day, and the next one along here is the worst of the future with a thing we call business as usual or do nothing tank.
HARRIS: Dove is pumping much warmer water with lots of added carbon dioxide into this tank. This is what the world's oceans are likely to look like later in this century when the schoolchildren visiting this island today reach middle age.
DOVE: And as you look into here, it looks quite different, as you will see.
HARRIS: Oh yeah.
DOVE: OK. So there's lot of this slimy, yucky mess(ph) of cynobacteria.
HARRIS: Clumps of black gunk swirl along the surface of the tank.
DOVE: We find that cynobacterial (unintelligible) tend to do really well in the future. The slippery slope to slime seems to be the way to go.
HARRIS: Not so for the coral. Most of it has either died or turned white, which means the organisms that live inside the coral have moved out.
DOVE: So as you see, the future is not a great place. Here's - the needle(ph) coral is underneath here. It's gone. And there's really not very much left alive.
HARRIS: In all there are four sets of tanks here: the healthiest coral are in a tank that simulates pre-industrial conditions. The present day tank looks almost as good, but the coral looks progressively worse in tanks with increasing carbon dioxide and temperature.
DOVE: We can make this a little bit (unintelligible)...
HARRIS: Now, plenty of small-scale experiments in the lab have shown that corals suffer in hotter waters and in more acidic conditions. This experiment puts those two threats together, since that's what the reefs of the future will face. Dove tries to be dispassionate about her findings, but the site touches the human chord.
DOVE: I feel pretty sad when I look into this. You know, I look at the others, the control tank, and I think, well, that would be nice if we could at least stay like that.
HARRIS: But doing so would mean civilization would have to stop burning fossil fuels immediately. That's not going to happen. Instead, once the carbon dioxide concentrations get high enough in the ocean, the stony structure of the reef actually starts to dissolve. That's bad news for the vibrant life that lives on the reef.
DOVE: There's no reef building going on here. It's reef dismantling that's going on here. Maybe some fish can survive in this type of environment, but I think we're going to lose a lot of the fish capabilities, you know, for fishing and everything. So people who are trying to live off what the reef offers them, this is going to be much harder. From a tourist's point of view, I don't imagine this is something that tourists would feel that attracted to come and see.
HARRIS: And as the reefs erode, they will offer less protection from the storm surges generated by the typhoons that sweep ashore here in Australia and throughout the South Pacific.
ANDREAS ANDERSON: Millions of humans are dependent on the reefs today.
HARRIS: Andreas Anderson is a reef scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. He says increasing ocean acidity is a big threat to the millions of people who depend on the fish that in turn depend on the reef. He says experiments like the one on Heron Island suggest the reefs face bad times ahead later in this century, but the weakness of studies like this is that they change conditions for the corals in one sudden shock.
ANDERSON: So what we don't really understand is, you know, how quickly will this happen, to what extent will it happen. Will organisms be able to acclimatize or adapt to this over a longer time scale?
HARRIS: The best case is that the change will be slow.
ANDERSON: If it breaks down very rapidly, we are definitely in big problems. But if it takes thousands of years, then, you know, perhaps it's not so bad.
HARRIS: Sophie Dove knows no experiment is perfect, but hers is designed to look for hints that corals can adapt to their new circumstances, and she doesn't see any sign of that. We will have more definitive answers soon enough because this experiment isn't simply confined to tanks at research stations - it's playing out on every coral reef in the world.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
The reef that regenerated: Researchers find corals in Northern Australia healed themselves in just 12 years
Greenies are always talking about things that they think will "damage" reefs but reefs turn out to be pretty good at looking after themselves
A coral reef in Northern Australia severely damaged by warming seas has managed to completely heal itself in just 12 years, stunned researchers have found.
The team found that being left alone to breed on its own was key.
The discovery raises hope that other damaged reefs could 'regenerate'.
The new research shows that an isolated reef off the northwest coast of Australia that was severely damaged by a period of warming in 1998.
It was hit by coral bleaching, caused by higher water temperatures that break down the coral's symbiotic relationship with algae that provide food for coral growth.
However, the team found Scott reef has regenerated in a very short time to become nearly as healthy as it was before.
What surprises scientists, though, is that the reef regenerated by itself, found a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
James Gilmour and colleagues studied the Scott system of reefs on the edge of Western Australia’s continental shelf, which lost 70 to 90 percent of its corals to a climate-induced bleaching event back in 1998.
The researchers found that, although the corals’ reproductive abilities were reduced by the bleaching, coral cover still increased from 9 percent to 44 percent across the entire system in just 12 years.
The team say the finding is surprising because researchers have assumed that recovery from such bleaching events depends upon the delivery of larvae from other, nearby reef systems.
But, the Scott system of reefs is located 155 miles (250 kilometers) from the mainland or any other reefs.
So, Gilmour and his team suggest that herbivorous fish, which remained abundant in the undisturbed Scott system, even after the bleaching, kept microalgae in check and allowed coralline algae to thrive.
This set of conditions in turn provided a suitable substratum upon which young corals could establish and grow., they claim.
The study suggests that reef systems can recover using local sources of larvae, especially when fish are plentiful and human activities, which have been shown to slow coral recovery in the past, are limited.
At first, the reef grew slowly, mostly through the enlargement of existing coral colonies. But to really recover, the coral needs to sexually reproduce, creating sperm and egg that form embryos that then land on the ocean floor and grow into adult corals, if all goes well.
These larvae can survive for hundreds of miles, swept along by ocean currents, and colonize new areas under the right circumstances.
Larvae floating in from other reefs could have helped the reef, had it not been so isolated.
But amazingly, after about six years, the surviving corals matured and began to reproduce, creating even more new colonies than before the bleaching. 'They recovered, and the larvae they produced settled and survived, at much higher rates than is often reported,' Gilmour said. By 2012, the reef was basically back to its old self.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
The "threat" posed by coal mining is entirely imaginary. Coal has been mined for decades with no link to the reef established. Greenpeace just like mucking around in boats
THE new Rainbow Warrior docked in Brisbane's today, for the first time in 30 years, as Greenpeace prepares to launch its Queensland tour.
Berthed at Portside Wharf, the ship will be open to the public for tours later this week, as the environmental group readies for a new Great Barrier Reef campaign.
Greenpeace CEO David Ritter said its arrival has come at an important time as coal expansion threatens to destroy Queensland's reef and waterways. "If we want to stop coal barons destroying the Great Barrier Reef and all the jobs associated with it, we need to act now," he said.
Mr Ritter invited Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and Premier Campbell Newman to come aboard and discuss concerns for the sustainability of the reef. "We are down here on the boat if Campbell Newman or Tony Burke would like to come down for a chat," he said. "They need to know it is simply not okay to destroy and industrialise the Great Barrier Reef."
Greenpeace has expressed anger at the Queensland government's support of a revised expansion of the controversial New Acland coal mine in the state's southwest, after previously announcing the mine's third stage would not go ahead.
But despite renewed plans for coal expansion, Mr Ritter said it was never too late for action. "I can't look my children in the eyes and say it's too late," he said.
"It's never too late. The decision is in the state and federal government's hands to say it's not too late to save the world, it's not too late to act."
Mr Ritter was tight lipped about plans to actively stop coal expansion in North Queensland but did not rule out any direct action as long as it was done so peacefully.
"Greenpeace always tries to directly prevent environmental harm. We don't shy away from that, but it is always done peacefully. It's hard wired into our team, peace is in our name," he said.
The Queensland campaign will kick off in Townsville on Friday when they rally support among local community members to put a stop to coal mining.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Many marine organisms need CO2 to make their coral skeletons, carbonate shells and so on. Corals also have symbiotic plants within their flesh that use CO2 in photosynthesis.
Marine life flourishes where CO2 is abundant. Professor Walter Stark wrote about a favourite place for scuba divers, the ‘Bubble Bath’ near Dobu Island, Papua New Guinea. Here CO2 of volcanic origin is bubbling visibly through the water so that the water is saturated with CO2. Abundant life flourishes to make the spot a spectacular diver’s delight. He reported many accurate measurements of pH in the area and concluded “It seems that coral reefs are thriving at pH levels well below the most alarming projections for 2100.”
One of the factors affecting ocean pH is photosynthesis by plants. Experimental results show that plants grow better if CO2 is increased, and greenhouse managers commonly increase the CO2 artificially to increase crops, often by 30% or more. There is every reason to suppose that marine plants also thrive if CO2 is increased. There is also experimental evidence that carbonate secreting animals thrive in higher CO2. Herfort and colleagues concluded that the likely result of human emissions of CO2 would be an increase in oceanic CO2 that could stimulate photosynthesis and calcification in a wide variety of corals.
Marine life, including that part that fixes CO2 as the carbonate in limestones such as coral reefs, evolved on an Earth with CO2 levels many times higher than those of today, as reported by Berner and Kothaval. It may be true to say that today’s marine life is getting by in a CO2-deprived environment.
Tuvalu has long been ‘hot news’ as the favourite island to be doomed by sea level rise driven by global warming, allegedly caused in turn by anthropogenic carbon dioxide. But if a coral island is sinking slowly (or relative sea level rising slowly) the growth of coral can keep up with it. In the right circumstances some corals can grow over 2 cm in a year, but growth rate depends on many factors. Coral islands, made of living things, are not static dip-sticks against which sea level can be measured. We have to consider coral growth, erosion, transport and deposition of sediment and many other aspects of coral island evolution – not just the pH of seawater.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Hoagy and his friends screech about a 2 degree temperature rise killing off Australia's coral reefs. In the Persian gulf, however an extra 8 degrees doesn't bother corals. And the Warmists below admit their confusion
We tend to associate coral reefs with tropical seas of around 28 degrees, where even slight warming can have devastating effects on corals. But in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, corals survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius every summer, heat levels that would kill corals elsewhere.
In their study, the NOCS team worked closely with NYUAD researchers to select and characterise model corals from the Arabian/Persian Gulf, which will facilitate future molecular-scale investigations into why they can tolerate heat stress.
“We have established successful laboratory cultures of Gulf corals,” said Dr Jörg Wiedenmann, Head of the Coral Reef Laboratory and Senior Lecturer at University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, both of which are based at NOCS. “This will greatly accelerate the progress of unravelling the mechanisms that underlie their surprising heat resistance.”
Reefs are made up of many species of coral, each of which have a mutually beneficial, or “symbiotic”, relationship with algae living in their tissue. These algae supply vital nutrition to the host but are sensitive to environmental changes including increases in seawater temperature.
Even a temperature rise of just one degree Celsius can harm the symbiotic algae, which in turn can increase mortality in corals. The associated loss of symbiotic algae is known as “coral bleaching” because the white skeletons of the corals become visible through the tissue depleted from the algal pigments.
“In Gulf corals, both the coral host and the associated algal partners need to withstand the high seawater temperatures,” said Dr Wiedenmann who led the study.
But the scientists were surprised to discover that the algae in Gulf corals belong to a group not known for its thermal tolerance.
“We see that the algae are indeed special but in a way that we did not expect,” said Dr Wiedenmann. “The algae that we found in most of the corals in Abu Dhabi reefs were previously described as a ‘generalist strain’ that is usually not found in corals exposed to high levels of heat stress.”
“The system seems to be more complex than it is commonly thought but now we are in an excellent position to tackle these important questions.”
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has recently granted funding to Dr Wiedenmann and the Coral Reef Laboratory, so that the team can do just that. The researchers will build on their previous findings and use their model corals to investigate the molecular mechanisms that allow corals to thrive at extreme temperatures.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The GBR has been "threatened" as far back as I remember and I am in my 70th year. No evidence is needed: Just a shriek
THE Great Barrier Reef could be stripped of its world heritage status within months if action isn't taken to better protect the natural icon from coal and gas developments, environment groups say.
A coalition of green groups today launched the Fight for the Reef campaign in Canberra, warning state and federal politicians were putting the reef's international reputation at risk.
Last year UNESCO was "sufficiently concerned" enough by proposed developments along the Queensland coast it sent a mission to Australia to investigate, the campaign's director Felicity Wishart said.
It made a number of recommendations to the commonwealth and Queensland governments about how to proceed in the best interests of the reef.
The global heritage body could place the reef - the world's longest coral reef system - on the "world heritage in danger" list if it doesn't receive an adequate response by February.
Ms Wishart said such action would be an international embarrassment that threatened both the reef ecosystem and the $6 billion tourism industry it supports.
"The reef has an international reputation, it is loved globally," she said.
"That's a really alarming international black mark that we could be tracking towards if we don't lift our game."
She said the campaign, formed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Fund, had written to all the major parties in a bid to get the reef on the 2013 election agenda.
At the centre of their concerns are 45 major industrial developments proposed for the coast, including large-scale coal and gas projects that would boost shipping over the reef.
Currently, around 4000 ships make "port calls" through the reef every year, but that number could skyrocket to 7000 if the proposals go ahead unchallenged, the campaign group warns.
The main concern is that the government, which has a "proud track record" of defending the reef, wasn't now taking this issue seriously, Ms Wishart said.
"We're calling on all sides of politics to step up and commit to greater protection for what is the most significant natural icon that Australia has," she said.
"This is something that has to be beyond politics."
The Great Barrier Reef was granted world heritage status in 1981, but has since faced numerous threats from coral bleaching to cyclones, runoff, Crown-of-thorns starfish and commercial activity.