Increasingly intense storms threaten coral

May 1, 2008

A British scientist suggests hurricanes and other storms are increasing in intensity and are limiting the growth of some corals.

The Earthwatch Institute-supported study focused on the ability of corals in Belize to "recruit" new coral into their communities.

"Increasing evidence now shows that storms are becoming more intense due to climate change," said lead author and Earthwatch scientist James Crabbe from the University of Bedfordshire.

Coral reefs, which can expand for thousands of years, form when free-swimming coral larvae in the ocean attach to rocks or other hard surfaces and begin to develop.

"If the storms don't destroy corals outright, they render them more susceptible to disease," said Crabbe, "and that is certainly apparent on the Belize reefs."

He said his findings have implications for marine park managers. "They may need to assist coral recruitment and settlement (during hurricane years) by establishing coral nurseries and then placing the baby corals (larvae) in the reef at discrete locations" or by setting up artificial reef blocks to help the corals survive.

The research that included Edwin Martinez, Earthwatch field director in Belize, appears in the May issue of the journal Marine Environmental Research.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Pacific isles say climate talks failure not an option

Related Stories

Pacific isles say climate talks failure not an option

August 22, 2015

Two of the world's most vulnerable low-lying island nations, Kiribati and Tuvalu, have said failure at upcoming climate talks in Paris is not an option as rising sea levels threaten their very existence.

Recommended for you

Climate ups odds of 'grey swan' superstorms

August 31, 2015

Climate change will boost the odds up to 14-fold for extremely rare, hard-to-predict tropical cyclones for parts of Australia, the United States and Dubai by 2100, researchers said Monday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.