Friday, September 13, 2013

Coral Reef Sustainability

Rising Ocean Acid Levels are the Biggest Threat to Coral Reefs

The speed by which oceans' acid levels have risen has caught scientists off-guard, says the head of NOAA

'Bleached' coral reef off Caye Caulker, Belize. Oceans' rising acid levels are one of the biggest threats to coral reefs, scientists say. Photograph: Str/Reuters
Oceans' rising acid levels have emerged as one of the biggest threats tocoral reefs, acting as the "osteoporosis of the sea" and threatening everything from food security to tourism to livelihoods, the head of a US scientific agency said Monday.
The speed by which the oceans' acid levels has risen caught scientists off-guard, with the problem now considered to be climate change's "equally evil twin," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chief Jane Lubchenco told The Associated Press.
"We've got sort of the perfect storm of stressors from multiple places really hammering reefs around the world," said Lubchenco, who was in Australia to speak at the International Coral Reef Symposium in the northeast city of Cairns, near the Great Barrier Reef. "It's a very serious situation."
Oceans absorb excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to an increase in acidity. Scientists are worried about how that increase will affect sea life, particularly reefs, as higher acid levels make it tough for coral skeletons to form. Lubchenco likened ocean acidification to osteoporosis a bone-thinning disease because researchers are concerned it will lead to the deterioration of reefs.
Scientists initially assumed that the carbon dioxide absorbed by the water would be sufficiently diluted as the oceans mixed shallow and deeper waters. But most of the carbon dioxide and the subsequent chemical changes are being concentrated in surface waters, Lubchenco said.
"And those surface waters are changing much more rapidly than initial calculations have suggested," she said. "It's yet another reason to be very seriously concerned about the amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere now and the additional amount we continue to put out."
Higher acidity levels are especially problematic for creatures such as oysters, because they slow the growth of their shells. Experiments have shown other animals, such as clown fish, also suffer. In a study that mimicked the level of acidity scientists expect by the end of the century, clown fish began swimming toward predators, instead of away from them, because their sense of smell had been dulled.
"We're just beginning to uncover many of the ways in which the changing chemistry of oceans affects lots of behaviors," Lubchenco said. "So salmon not being able to find their natal streams because their sense of smell was impaired, that's a very real possibility."
The potential impact of all of this is huge, Lubchenco said. Coral reefs attract critical tourism dollars and protect fragile coastlines from threats such as tsunamis. Seafood is the primary source of protein for many people around the world. Already, some oyster farmers have blamed higher acidity levels for a decrease in stocks.
Some attempts to address the problem are already under way. Instruments that measure changing acid levels in the water have been installed in some areas to warn oyster growers when to stop the flow of ocean water to their hatcheries.
But that is only a short-term solution, Lubchenco said. The most critical element, she said, is reducing carbon emissions.
"The carbon dioxide that we have put in the atmosphere will continue to be absorbed by oceans for decades," she said. "It is going to be a long time before we can stabilize and turn around the direction of change simply because it's a big atmosphere and it's a big ocean." News from THE GUARDIAN

Our Precious Reefs are Dying

Microbes rule the reef. They determine both coral reef health and decline. Exploration of their diverse roles in these ecosystems has become possible only recently with the development of new research methods, such as metagenomics. Join San Diego State microbial ecologist Forest Rohwer as he builds his case for the role of microbes in the DDAMnation of coral reefs. His research expeditions to the remote Line Islands, including trips with Scripps scientists, have provided new insights into the mechanisms by which human activities can influence reef health; how we convert the essential microbial partners of a healthy coral reef ecosystem into coral killers.

Whether is it coral reefs or shell animals or krill, the keystone species of the food chain, we must stop the progression of losing these species because as we lose these species, as we kill off each little creature that sustains this planet, we kill off ourselves. NOT OURSELVES, but we kill off the planet that sustains human life as we know it. What other animals on this earth has contributed to this much destruction of self sustenance?  ONLY MANKIND and ONLY MANKIND of the past 200 years! We are them! We must stand up and be counted, each of us in our station, we must stop this progressing of death and destruction to this place of wonder and beauty and life!

Thanks for visiting. I hope my little effort will make some difference. I just have to refer to the famous "Starfish Story" from my website,


Starfish Story as I recall it:

One day a learned man was walking down the beach and noticed a little figure in the distance, moving like a dancer. As he grew closer, he saw a little girl in a pink bathing suit. She wasn’t dancing, but bending down over and over again, throwing something into the sea.

When he got closer he realized she was picking up starfish that had washed up on the sand. The man chuckled and shook his head, “Why are you throwing those starfish into the ocean?”

The little girl pointed up, “The sun is hot and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they will die.”

At hearing this the man replied, “Don’t you see that there are thousands of starfish along many miles of beach? Your little effort can’t possibly make much of a difference.”

The little girl looked up at him with big blue eyes and then bent down again. She picked up another starfish and threw it into the water. As the wave took it away, she smiled and said,
 “It made a difference to that one.”



from exploitation from industrial scale fishing.
We are fishing our way down the food chain!



Antarctica's great Southern Ocean is the last pristine ocean wilderness left on Earth. This year leaders from 25 countries have an opportunity to create the world's largest marine sanctuaries around Antarctica. The proposals are in front of them, the science has been done, all they need to do is say YES. Tell our leaders to make the right decision when they meet this year and protect these waters for future generations.

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