Scientists Create First Map Of Hawai’i Coral Reefs

Posted: Mar 3 2018, 4:04pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Scientists Create First Map of Hawai’i Coral Reefs
Composite showing healthy coral (left) and damaged coral (right). Credit: Keoki Stender, Marine Life Photo

The map documents the impact of human activities and natural events on reef recovery

Scientists have created a comprehensive map of Hawai’i coral reef system and the impact of environmental stressors on it. The first-of-its-kind map shows slow reef recovery after extreme coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures in Hawai’i.

The beautiful coral reef systems around the globe are under pressure from a variety of factors. The most common is, of course, climate change and despite the ongoing efforts of scientists and conservationists their ecosystems are dying or succumbing to diseases.

To understand the effect of human activities and natural events on Hawai’i coral reef, researchers analyzed 10 years of database from different sources and painted a big picture of coral reefs in the area. They found that the loss is widespread and the recovery is relatively slow. The map could serve as the database for the further research and lead to better restoration strategies.

“When we jumped into the water in West Hawai’i, over half of the coral reef was dead. These are some of Hawaii’s most vibrant coral reefs, so we were heartbroken—and determined to better understand how reef ecosystems could be more resilient in the future.” Lead author, Lisa Wedding from Stanford University said.

Coral reefs are critically important to the world as they harbor many unique species. A number of factors such as higher temperatures, sedimentation and human-related activities such as fishing and coastal development are destroying their ecosystems. This widespread loss has prompted researchers to apply various approaches for their recovery. The study, however, highlights the importance of tailoring strategies based on location to effectively address stress factors.

“This area of research has been a long-term need for coral reef conservation and management,” said co-author Joey Lecky from NOAA. “These findings will allow us to take a big step forward in understanding how corals are impacted by both human activities and environmental stressors, in a place with incredible value.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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