Live blogging the annual coral spawning event across the Caribbean

So it’s that time of year again in the Caribbean where the corals undergo the annual mass spawn. Along with this ritual comes the coral researchers, who run a bunch of experiments with coral recruitment, settlement, fertilization, which involves catching coral sperm and eggs using nets (see above) and mixing it all up in jars … Continue reading Live blogging the annual coral spawning event across the Caribbean

Local stressors act to reduce the resilience of corals to bleaching events

Researchers from SCRIPPS Oceanographic Institute have published an important article in the journal PLoS ONE, detailing research that confirms what has suspected for some time – that local stressors reduce the resilience of corals to bleaching events. Jessica Carilli and colleagues set out to test the hypothesis that chronic local stress reduces coral resistance and … Continue reading Local stressors act to reduce the resilience of corals to bleaching events

NOAA Coral Bleaching Outlook System Indicates Potential for High Level Coral Bleaching in the Caribbean and Parts of the Equatorial Pacific

Scientists from NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch Program are forecasting a significant potential for higher than normal thermal stress in the Caribbean, especially in the Lesser Antilles, through October 2009. Continued high water temperatures can lead to a high probability of significant coral bleaching and infectious coral disease outbreaks.  The forecast is based on the July … Continue reading NOAA Coral Bleaching Outlook System Indicates Potential for High Level Coral Bleaching in the Caribbean and Parts of the Equatorial Pacific

Testing the ‘macroalgal dominated coral reefs’ paradigm

The paradigm of ‘coral vs algae’ has become entrenched in coral reef science over the last few decades. The classic example of this paradigm in the Caribbean was from a paper published byTerry Hughes in a 1994 article in the journal Nature, entitled “Catastrophes, Phase Shifts and Large-Scale Degradation of a Caribbean Coral Reef”. The … Continue reading Testing the ‘macroalgal dominated coral reefs’ paradigm

Disease-hunting scientist: Dr Laurie Richardson and black band disease in coral

Just finished reading a great excerpt from a book called ‘Disease-hunting scientist’ by a Canadian author called Edward Willett. The scientist in question is Dr Laurie Richardson from Florida International University, who is well known for her work on ‘black band disease’ (see image above) on Caribbean coral reefs. I’ve never read Willett’s work before … Continue reading Disease-hunting scientist: Dr Laurie Richardson and black band disease in coral

Where have all the big fish gone? Part II: A case study from the Florida Keys

Following on from two great posts by John and Albert on Carribean reef fish decline and coral collapse, I thought it’d be worth posting these visually stunning images from a recent publication by Loren McClenechan, titled “Documenting Loss of Large Trophy Fish from the Florida Keys with Historical Photographs“. Through analysis of historical photographs in the Florida Keys, Loren managed to piece together a convicing history of recreational fishing trends over the past half century. Large fish really were more abundant in bygone days: the average fish size caught in 2007 was a tiny 2.3kg, compared with 19.9kg in 1957, and that the average length of sharks declined by more than 50% in the same period. In this case though, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

1a
1957
1b
Early 1980's

2007
2007

Continue reading “Where have all the big fish gone? Part II: A case study from the Florida Keys”