The 7000-year-old coral communities of Moreton Bay are telling a curious tale, expanding when sea-levels rise or water quality improves, then declining when current circulation becomes more restricted.
Intriguing new insights into the behaviour of corals and fish under changing climatic conditions will be presented by leading marine researchers at a public forum in Brisbane this coming Friday.
Professor John Pandolfi from the University of Queensland and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and his team have been dating the corals of Moreton Bay and finding they have undergone surges of growth, probably triggered by subtle changes in sea level and water conditions.
“We’ve found coral communities up to 7000 years old showing these curious growth episodes – the last one started about 400 years ago. When coral reef growth slows or stops in the Bay, it appears to correspond with a decline in the current circulation and an increase in turbidity.”
The team has also found clear evidence of changes in the types of corals in the Bay from the delicate staghorns to more massive forms, coinciding with European settlement and possibly resulting from declining water quality as nearby catchments were altered.
These and many other aspects of the future of Australia’s corals will be explored at a scientific symposium and public forum in Brisbane this week.
The scientific symposium “Securing Coral Reef Futures” will take place on August 6 and 7 at the Brisbane Customs House.
It will be followed by the Public Forum on the future of the coral reefs worldwide at 6.00pm, Friday 7 August at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Media are welcome to attend both.
This and more from the scientific symposium “Securing Coral Reef Futures” here in Brisbane on the 6th and 7th August, including seminars by Dr Morgan Pratchett (adaptability of fish to ocean acidification and coral loss),Professor Garry Ryss (GBR Marine parks and fisheries stocks), and Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (coral reefs, mangrove forests and global food security). Anyone is welcome to join the Public Forum on the future of the coral reefs worldwide at 6.00pm, Friday 7 August at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (click here for more details).