When Coral Reefs Recover

Last Friday, July 13th at the international symposium on coral reefs in Cairns Australia several presentations passed on the message of protecting coral reefs.  What was taken from these presentations was how important it is to protect our world’s coral reefs.  Unfortunately, the longevity of these precious coral reefs has been threatened by things such as “ocean acidification, warming water temperatures, pollution and overfishing.   According to John Pandolfi of the Center for Marine Science at the Uniersity of Queensland, one of the best ways to stop these threats is through local changes.  On the other hand, Pandolfi stated that increased protection is paramount because “reefs bounce back more slowly than other marine ecosystems like estuaries.”  Also, studies have shown that decrease in local poverty is directly proportional to inproved health of marine life.  In Cabo Pulmo, it was found that “once residents gave up fishing, they began offering eco-tourism sevices built around the areas natural assets, including scuba diving, norkeling and kayaking.”  Because of this increased tourism, Cabo Pulmo’s per capita income increased greatly.  The symposium has also offered many other great discoveries which can lead to the improved health of our worlds coral reefs.   Scientists George Roff and Peter Mumby from the University of Queensland presented information which showed that Indo-Pacific reefs are more apt to recovery than reefs in the Caribbean.  Reasons for this include the lack of seaweed in the Indo-Pacific because of the surfeit of herbivorous fish.  Seaweed competes with coral for space and the excess herbivorous fish help to decrease the amount of seaweed.  This information shows that the less seaweed in an area, the easier it is for coral to recover and live healthily.  Events like the International Symposium on Coral Reefs are extremely helpful for those who seek to improve the delicate state of the Earth’s environment.


Ben Roberts


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