Tag: coral reef ecosystems

Investigating the impacts of climate change on reef-building corals using robotic arms 

Blue lights fill the room. The faint smell of salt emanates throughout the space as wires and tubes intricately suspended over robotic arms move along custom-built tracks over four rows of tanks filled with seawater – and fragments of critically-endangered corals. In the Experimental Reef Lab, scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) are investigating how crucial reef-building coral species are affected by the impacts of climate change using a suite of open-source robotic arms designed and built at AOML.

Read Full Article

A Bold and Unprecedented New Effort to Tackle the Vast Threats to Marine Ecosystems

NOAA announced $4.2 million in funding awarded to a collaborative project entitled the Florida Regional Ecosystems Stressors Collaborative Assessment (FRESCA), co-led by NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and the University of Miami, and involving seven different academic and research institutions.

Read Full Article

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. 

Read Full Article

Building Endurance to Beat the Heat: New Study Preps Corals for Warming Waters

In a recent study published in the journal Coral Reefs, scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) found that staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) fragments exposed to an oscillating temperature treatment were better able to respond to heat stress caused by warming oceans.

Read Full Article

Environmental DNA Sampling Gets an Upgrade and Transitions to New Open-Source Technology

Scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML),the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the Northern Gulf Institute at Mississippi State University have engineered a new instrument that will provide valuable information about the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems. A recently published paper in Hardware X describes the design and creation of a low-cost, open-source sub-surface automated environmental DNA (eDNA) sampler (SASe), for sampling eDNA in the water column. The SASe represents a milestone for AOML as one of the first pieces of technology to go through a rigorous transition process from the desks of scientists in the laboratory, through organizational approval channels, to the wider scientific community with full accessibility to the public.

Read Full Article

Habitat Altering Processes Are Uncovered for Reefs in the Eastern Pacific

Trying to predict how coral reefs will respond to warming oceans and a changing climate may be considered a daunting task for scientists. In the face of this challenge, scientists at AOML recently published a study that characterizes the organisms and processes that lead to coral reef accretion (build up) and bioerosion (break down) in the dynamic environments of the Gulf of Panama and Gulf of Chiriqui in the eastern Pacific.

Read Full Article

Urban Corals Persist in Unlikely Places

When we look at the state of corals globally, it can be difficult to see a silver lining, but a recent paper published in Frontiers in Marine Science shows hope for corals in unlikely places. In the study, scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science compared the molecular processes of brain corals (Pseudodiploria strigosa) living in urban waters at the Port of Miami with offshore corals at Emerald Reef. They found the urban corals had adapted to challenging conditions that helped them differentiate and consume healthy food particles over diseased organisms.

Read Full Article

Characterizing Coral Resilience in the Anthropocene: A Reef in the “New Normal”

It can be hard to stay upbeat as a marine biologist, especially with the onslaught of existential threats like climate change facing the planet. Coral reefs are arguably the ecosystem that stands to lose the most with respect to climate change, namely because the resident organisms are highly sensitive to elevated temperatures. Furthermore, the limestone-based reef framework itself is diminishing before our eyes due to the accompanying rise in carbon dioxide levels (which decreases oceanic pH, leading to ocean acidification). That being said, there are corals out there that display resilience, continuing to thrive in habitats that would appear decidedly marginalized to even the untrained eye.

Read Full Article

Scientists at AOML Present Coral Research at the First Virtual International Coral Reef Symposium

Coral scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) will be presenting their research at the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) from July 19-23, 2021, which will be held virtually for the first time in the history of the ICRS.

Read Full Article