‘Phase analysis’ offers new hope for coral

DIVING NEWS

‘Phase analysis' offers new hope for coral

Coral reef
Picture: Steve Weinman.

Identifying five distinct phases of coral-reef decline in place of the standard “healthy, bleached or dead” analysis could be the key to saving threatened habitats. That's according to a study by US researchers who say they have come up with a new tool for monitoring reef health.

The report by scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara, the National Centre for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis, the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) and other bodies suggests that the five phases can help to determine more effective means of managing reef recovery.

21 November 2018

“What if doctors believed that people are either healthy or dead, with no in-between states?  They would be missing a lot of opportunities to prevent death,” said Senior Scientist Kendra Karr of the EDF. “This study reveals that communities around the world may be missing opportunities to prevent death, or bleaching, of coral reef eco-systems.

“Just like we need different treatments to address our individual illnesses as patients, each coral-reef phase may need a different approach to recovery.”

The phases identified, based on more than 3000 scuba surveys in Hawaii but believed to have global application, range from high coral-cover with high fish-biomass through three intermediate phases to low coral-cover and low fish-biomass.

With even small shifts in environmental conditions causing “tipping points” in ocean  eco-systems, the researchers believe that fishery managers can use their approach to identify and avoid the sort of abrupt changes that can threaten coral reefs.

Reefs identified affected by bleaching, overfishing and storm impacts are known to be recoverable, says the study – but only as a result of collective global action.

“It is our hope that citizen scientists and coral enthusiasts around the world use this study to participate in monitoring coral-reef phases anywhere – whether it’s monitoring corals right off their shore, or in new areas they are passionate about,” said Karr.

“Doing so will give decision-makers more opportunities to help save these precious resources.”

The study is published in Scientific Reports.

biggest

LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

Get a weekly roundup of all Divernet news and articles 🤿

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Related Divernet Posts

Diver Magazine Relaunch

Diver magazine needs YOU!

Are you still lamenting the demise of Diver magazine? Well now you can help resurrect an icon as we seek to bring back the magazine

manta ray and diver over reef in Komodo

Divers pitch into Komodo manta probe

Manta rays choose to stick around Indonesia’s Komodo National Park in unusually large numbers – and, according to a new diver-led study, this community could

female diver holding pair of Fourth Element Tech fins

Tech fins inspired by humpback whales

Whales provided the inspiration for optimising efficiency in Fourth Element’s latest fins, according to the Cornwall-based manufacturer. The “turbulence disruptors” on top of the blades

Last Breath portrait of Woody Harrelson

Woody dives into Last Breath remake

A new version of the British documentary-thriller that captured the imaginations of divers in 2019 is about to be previewed at the Cannes Film Festival.

Viagra tablet

Viagra and diving: Risk reduction

Awareness is everything in diving, and BOB COLE has advice for divers who, for whatever reason, take PDE5 inhibitors I recently met an old friend

Reefs of Raja Ampat

Reefs of Raja Ampat

Local Guide to Raja Ampat Reefs, #4 Neu Reef While Raja Ampat is home to an incredible number of dive sites, one area, in particular,

Follow Divernet on Social Media