Dead Zones Threatens Coral Reefs Worldwide

Posted: Mar 22 2017, 11:39am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Dead Zones Threatens Coral Reefs Worldwide
Low oxygen conditions were most severe below a certain depth, evident in this photo of dying sponges. Credit: Arcadio Castillo, STRI
  • Dead Zones are a Menace for Coral Reefs on a Global Level

It looks like dead zones are a menace for coral reefs on a global level. In fact, they threaten the very existence of coral reefs.

Dead zones are a constant threat to dozens of coral reefs around the world especially the Great Barrier Reef which lies off the coast of Australia. A novel study shows that coral reefs are dying off on the coast of Panama too.

This is thought to be due to a dead zone. Dead zones are low oxygen areas that extinguish marine life forms. These dead zones cause devastation of coral reefs not due to global warming or acid in the oceans.

Although oceanic warming or acidification also cause coral reef devastation, they require wholescale solutions. As for these dead zones, they require local solutions. By the control of sewage and agricultural waste products, dead zones could be controlled.

In 2010, coral reefs in Almirante Bay showed signs of degradation. Corals were pale white and showing signs of dying. Such bleaching occurs due to heat levels. Yet more was involved here then met the eye. Some other entity was also a culprit in the equation.

Bacterial slime, the carcasses of crabs, sea urchins and sponges littered the ocean bed. Above a certain depth, the waters looked to be okay. Yet go below this plumbline and you could detect that things had gone awry.

Even single corals were alright above this line and damaged below it. The researchers went ahead and delved into the dynamics of this whole setup.

Water quality was examined to find out the what, why and wherefore of the entire shebang. Some of the readings of oxygen levels proved to be very shocking for the researchers. They showed that all was indeed not well.

Dead zones even exist in tropical waters but have gone undetected for quite a long time. It was a case of not looking deep enough for them. Yet the major dead zones exist in the temperate regions.

Their numbers in temperate areas are ten times higher than in tropical zones. Reef monitoring programs are being instituted to tackle this situation normal absolutely fouled up.

The under-reporting of dead zones is the first thing which has to be stopped. Dead zones are like icebergs. The majority of them remain unknown. Oxygen was the main issue at hand and its deficit was causing dead zones to flourish.

The findings of this study got published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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