High Ocean Temperatures Lead To Tropical Fish Causing Kelp Forests Destruction

Posted: Nov 15 2016, 4:24am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
High Ocean Temperatures Lead to Tropical Fish Causing Kelp Forests Destruction
  • High Oceanic Temperatures lead to Tropical Fish causing Kelp Deforestation

There is the occurrence of high oceanic temperatures which lead to tropical fish causing kelp deforestation.

Plant-eating tropical fish have caused large-scale destruction of kelp forests in Northern New South Wales. This shows the deleterious effects of small changes in oceanic temperatures.

The wiping out of whole colonies of kelp, which is a sort of seaweed, from Coff’s Harbor was concomitant with the rise of the tropical fish population in the marine region.

The fish increased threefold while the temperature rise in the marine environment was 0.6 degrees Celsius. The temperature rise did not affect the kelp yet it did attract voracious tropical fish that consumed the kelp like there was no tomorrow.

Video clips of a dozen sites between 2002 and 2011 showed that in the beginning six sites contained plentiful amounts of kelp. By the end of the period all the kelp was gone. It was a catastrophe in the making.

The remnants of the kelp showed signs of having been bitten by the tropical fish. The bitten kelp was only 10% in 2002. Yet by 2008, it comprised 70% of the total plant population.

The number of tropical fish increased from 10% to 30%. Surgeonfish were the major form of tropical fish that inhabited the area. Their population increased from 9% to 33%.

Once the kelp community died out, the tropical fish population multiplied in the region. This is a trend that is similar to globalization. Everywhere everything becomes the same. The scientists experimented with the variables to find out what types of fish would feed on kelp in the first place.

In one of the video clips that got made, a bunch of rabbitfish feed on a piece of kelp before dispersing upon the arrival of a shark.The moment the shark drifts away, they re-emerge and start feeding on the kelp once again.

In another video clip a lamington urchin can be seen closing in on a kelp and then slowly descending on one of its fronds. This creature is a strange marine life form that resembles a bald tennis ball that has been split into two parts which are covered in spikes.

While urchins are typical kelp-eaters, this species is tropical to boot which is something the researchers took special notice of. Both rabbitfish and parrotfish were also observed to prevent the replenishing of kelp populations in a natural and normal manner.

The findings of this research appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.

 

 

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