Increasingly intense storms threaten coral

May 01, 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: Where did the missing oil go? New study says some is sitting on the Gulf floor

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Suomi NPP satellite watching Cyclone Bakung's remnants

Dec 16, 2014

The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Bakung continue to linger in the Southern Indian Ocean, and NOAA-NASA's Suomi NPP (Suomi NPP) satellite is one satellite keeping an eye on the storm for possible re-development.

Recommended for you

Measuring phosphorus loss from Midwest crop fields

12 hours ago

Field runoff from farms in the Lake Erie basin is often rich in soluble plant nutrients, including phosphorus. When this nutrient-rich runoff reaches the lake, the phosphorus can support abundant algal blooms ...

FACT CHECK: Both sides in Keystone XL debate bend facts

Jan 28, 2015

Supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf, say the privately funded, $8 billion project is a critically needed piece of infrastructure that will create thousands of jobs ...

User comments : 0

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.