Category: Corals

New study establishes monitoring framework for evaluating reef persistence under climate change and ocean acidification

Webb, A.E., Enochs, I.C., van Hooidonk, R. et al. Restoration and coral adaptation delay, but do not prevent, climate-driven reef framework erosion of an inshore site in the Florida Keys. Sci Rep 13, 258 (2023).

For reef framework to persist, calcium carbonate production by corals and other calcifiers needs to outpace loss due to physical, chemical, and biological erosion. This balance is both delicate and dynamic and is currently threatened by the effects of ocean warming and acidification. Although the protection and recovery of ecosystem functions are at the center of most restoration and conservation programs, decision makers are limited by the lack of predictive tools to forecast habitat persistence under different emission scenarios. To address this, we developed a modelling approach, based on carbonate budgets, that ties species-specific responses to site-specific global change using the latest generation of climate models projections (CMIP6). We applied this model to Cheeca Rocks…

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What a Marine Heatwave Means for South Florida

A marine heatwave has spread across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean with temperatures ranging between one and three degrees Celsius (~2-4.5˚F) above average. Ocean temperatures around south Florida are the warmest on record for the month of July (dating back to 1981). Marine heatwaves are not unprecedented, but their influence on tropical storm development and coral reef health, as well as the persistence of the current heatwave, are among the causes for concern. 

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Threats to Coral

Threats to Coral Reefs Identifying and Addressing Threats to Reef Communities  JUMP TO MARINE HEAT WAVE OR SCROLL TO LEARN MORE Marine Heat Waves A marine heat wave is when the ocean temperature is extremely warm relative to what is typically considered “normal,” or above the 90th percentile for at least 5 days - but [...]
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AOML Interns Dive into DNA Extraction and Processing Coral Samples for ‘Omics Analyses 

Only a few weeks into summer, Coral Program Interns Lorelei Ing, Taylor Gill, Zachary Zagon and Kenzie Cooke have been hard at work as they process coral samples and perform DNA extractions in preparation for ‘Omics analyses that will help to better understand how the genetic structure of corals influences their resilience to environmental stressors. The Coral Program falls within the Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division (OCED) at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML).

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Four decades of coral research lead to an exciting discovery for tropical pacific corals

A heat-tolerant algae found in some tropical Pacific corals can make reefs more resilient to heatwave events, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers with University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (UM-CIMAS) and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) examined four decades of temperature, coral cover, bleaching, mortality data from three mass bleaching events, and symbiont community data from the last two, to find that a symbiont algae helped corals better tolerate heat stress, increasing their resilience to warming ocean temperatures.

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Experts Learn from Coral Disease Outbreak

When white lesions began appearing at the famously intact Flower Garden Banks coral reef system, scientists knew a rapid, multi-agency, collaborative response was vital. Scientists from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) recently co-authored a publication about rapid tissue loss on the three dominant coral species at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, observed during National Coral Reef Monitoring Program cruises in the fall of 2022.

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