Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Rarest Place on Earth

"It was complicated, all right, but I finally saw that the whole mess could be reduced to a narrative. The reef, the greater ecosystem, is suffering from four distinct stresses. The four big problems are the virtual extinction of the spiny sea urchin, Diadema; over fishing of major predators, like snapper and grouper, and of herbivorous fish, like the parrotfish; ocean warming; and El NiƱo. And of course, the four crises aggravate one another, yielding a cascade of difficulties for life on the reef."

Click here to download the whole narrative by Archie Carr III (Chuck), Senior Conservationist, Wildlife Conservation Society. A worthwhile read! As the crow flies, only some 85 miles to our location on Roatan.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Overview of Modelling Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean Region with contribution from the Pacific Islands

The nations of CARICOM in the Caribbean together with Pacific island countries contribute less than 1% to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (0.33%17 and 0.03%18 respectively), yet these countries are expected to be among the earliest and most impacted by climate change in the coming decades and are least able to adapt to climate change impacts. These nations’ relative isolation, small land masses, their concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal areas, limited economic base and dependency on natural resources, combined with limited financial, technical and institutional capacity all exacerbates their vulnerability to extreme events and climate
change impacts. Click here for a link to the report and posters.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Coral and Coral Reefs

Thomas F. Goreau, Nora I. Goreau, Thomas J. Goreau
Scientific American, August, 1979

This paper, still the classic introduction to the field, was written around 1970, but its publication was delayed by nearly 10 years because the publishers did not think coral reefs were of sufficient interest to the public.

It was written at a time when large scale coral bleaching, coral diseases, and coral reef eutrophication were unknown, or confined to tiny areas with extreme local stresses. All of that changed in the decades after this paper was published, as coral reefs began dying on a large scale and the reefs described in this paper virtually vanished.

Read more from Thomas J. Goreau and download the paper here

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Computer model helps biologists understand how coral dies in warming waters

Cornell researchers have developed a new tool to help marine biologists better grasp the processes under the sea: mathematical models that unveil the dynamics of bacterial communities behind afflictions that bleach and kill coral.

The corals shown here are partially bleached. Bleached areas appear lighter in color.

Read more about coral bleaching...