“Future protection of the oceans could lie in the past”

If we don’t know our history, then we can’t know our future. Historians arguing the relevance of their subject often repeat that mantra. But one group of researchers is showing how true it is. Members of the History of Marine Animals Project (HMAP) believe that scrutinizing the minutiae of historical documents is the key to protecting our oceans for generations to come. Continue reading “Future protection of the oceans could lie in the past”

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

Why the existence of ‘heat tolerant’ corals does not mean that coral reefs will be able to resist climate change.

A recent study published by Tom Oliver and Stephen Palumbi from Stanford University in the journal ‘Marine Ecology Progress Series‘ seems to suggest yet another miraculous and novel mechanism by which corals will ‘escape’ the pressures of global warming. In a nutshell, the researchers found that corals from ‘warm pools’ at Ofu Island (American Samoa) … Continue reading Why the existence of ‘heat tolerant’ corals does not mean that coral reefs will be able to resist climate change.

World Ocean Conference (Part I): Key coral reefs ‘could disappear’

It’s 2099, and across south-east Asia, a hundred million people are on the march, looking for food. The fish they once relied on is gone.

Communities are breaking down; economies destroyed. That is what we can expect, says the new WWF report, if the world’s richest coral reef is destroyed. And that, it says, could happen this century.

It’s billed as a worst-case scenario, but the report’s chief author, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, says it is not as bad as the future we’re currently headed towards. Continue reading World Ocean Conference (Part I): Key coral reefs ‘could disappear’