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Old 12-10-2021, 03:49   #1
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Coral Reef Status

Analysis shows coral loss of 14% worldwide

The largest global analysis of coral reef health ever undertaken, indicates that rising ocean temperatures resulted in a 14% loss of global corals.

“The Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020" report [1], from NOAA, and partners around the world, also found indications of coral resilience in some locations, offering hope that coral reefs can recover, if immediate steps are taken to curb future ocean warming.

This is the first report [1] since 2008, which fills a significant gap in contemporary understanding of global status and trends, in coral reefs. The analysis used data from nearly two million observations, from more than 12,000 collection sites, in 73 countries, over a time span of 40 years (1978-2019), representing the work of over 300 scientists.

It revealed that almost invariably, sharp declines in coral cover, correspond with rapid increases in sea surface temperatures, indicating their vulnerability to temperature spikes, and found that this phenomenon is likely to increase as the planet continues to warm.

More about ➥ https://gcrmn.net/2020-report/

And ➥ https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/10/1102242

[1] “The Sixth Status of Corals of the World: 2020 Report”
Full ➥ https://gcrmn.net/2020-report/

Summary ➥ https://gcrmn.net/wp-content/uploads...-Forewords.pdf
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Old 12-10-2021, 04:36   #2
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Re: Coral Reef Status

Some contributers may wish to dispute these findings, but please support your argument(s) with reference(s) to your PRIMARY sources of information. It might make your refutation more convincing, and may avoid unnecessary conflict.
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Old 12-10-2021, 05:20   #3
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Re: Coral Reef Status

My comments here are totally subjective but based on my personal observations.

First, can't comment much on the rest of the world but in Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean coral loss has been much more than 14%. Since I first dove the Keys and Bahamas in the mid 70s there has been almost total loss in branching corals and at least 50% of all hard corals in many places. In most places the majority of hard coral remaining is all fire coral.

This applies to all the Florida Keys, throughout the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. The only place farther south I have been diving recently was in Curacao where the corals were much healthier in general although pretty damaged in many areas. Deeper water on the north coast had the healthiest reefs.
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Old 12-10-2021, 05:38   #4
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Re: Coral Reef Status

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
... First, can't comment much on the rest of the world but in Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean coral loss has been much more than 14% ...
The report includes 9 [of 10] Regional sections, but the Caribbean Section isn’t yet included, but will be added soon.
The other Region Reports can be individually downloaded.
https://gcrmn.net/2020-report/

Excerpted from the Executive Summary:

“... Estimates and predictions of reef loss and degradation now and in the future vary.
Some scientists assess that more than a fifth of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost or severely damaged.
Others maintain the figure is closer to half - that over 50% of the world’s coral reefs have died in the last 30 years.
Some suggest that by 2070, coral reefs could be gone altogether.
Predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that with global warming of 1.5 oC coral reefs would decline by 70-90% and be virtually lost with 2oC of warming.
The most recent report by the IPCC shows that warming will continue at least until mid-century under all emissions scenarios and predicts that 1.5 oC and 2 oC will be exceeded this century unless deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions occur in coming decades ...”
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Old 13-10-2021, 21:51   #5
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Re: Coral Reef Status

As a molecular biologist, and a lifetime reef keeper (I grow corals), I find it very interesting that folks think that reef builders (corals) disappear, and never come back. Corals have a big problem: When their environment changes for the bad, they can't just up and move. So, they bleach. Bleaching is not killing. It's a survival technique. But everyone SEEMS to think it's death. Corals also have a way of reproducing in massive numbers. This all means that while we see large annual changes in reefs, it's not always the dire news that it appears.



I know Gord isn't a fan of Peter Ridd. But here's his article (It can be found many places): https://iowaclimate.org/2021/07/23/p...ate-alarmists/


BTW, "The sky is falling" sells. "The sky is just fine" does not. Alarmists always win.
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Old 14-10-2021, 03:13   #6
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Re: Coral Reef Status

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
As a molecular biologist, and a lifetime reef keeper (I grow corals), I find it very interesting that folks think that reef builders (corals) disappear, and never come back. Corals have a big problem: When their environment changes for the bad, they can't just up and move. So, they bleach. Bleaching is not killing. It's a survival technique. But everyone SEEMS to think it's death. Corals also have a way of reproducing in massive numbers. This all means that while we see large annual changes in reefs, it's not always the dire news that it appears.

I know Gord isn't a fan of Peter Ridd. But here's his article (It can be found many places): https://iowaclimate.org/2021/07/23/p...ate-alarmists/

BTW, "The sky is falling" sells. "The sky is just fine" does not. Alarmists always win.

Even Dr Ridd admits, that’s he’s an outlier, amongst his peers, stating: “... despite all the doom stories by our reef science and management institutions...”

Here’s the report [1] (Primary Source), that Dr. Ridd cited, in his opinion piece [3] (Secondary Source).
Note: AIMS warned that the recovery the Great Barrier Reef is currently experiencing, is likely to be short-lived, with the "increasing prominence" of climate-related disturbances.
According to AIMS chief executive Paul Hardisty:
"The biggest risk to the reef going forward is climate change,"


[1] “Annual Summary Report of Coral Reef Condition 2020/2021" ~ AIMS Long-Term Monitoring Program
Reef in recovery window after decade of disturbances
https://www.aims.gov.au/reef-monitor...mary-2020-2021

Here’s some comments, on Dr. Ridd’s article [2], by Lambert Baraut-Guinet:
“Despite 2021 being a good year for coral health, coral in the Great Barrier Reef has declined over the past decade and is threatened by climate change, contrary to claims by Peter Ridd”
https://climatefeedback.org/claimrev...by-peter-ridd/

[3] “Science and media doomsayers ignore good news on reef” ~ Dr. Peter Ridd
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/com...fec1a90c728e12

Some Media* Reporting:
* I don’t like to rely on MSM [nor Alt’ Media], for science news & opinion.

“Great Barrier Reef experiencing ‘record high’ levels of coral coverage”

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/09/...oral-coverage/

“Great Barrier Reef in 'recovery' but experts say progress will be threatened by climate-related disturbances”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-...ains/100304554

“Barrier Reef outlook poor despite coral 'recovery': scientists”
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-barrie...oor-coral.html

“Great Barrier Reef gets tick for coral regrowth but factors behind decline ‘getting worse’”
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/fede...19-p58azr.html

“Great Barrier Reef outlook ‘very poor’ despite coral ‘recovery’, Australian scientists say”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-b1886569.html
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Old 14-10-2021, 03:16   #7
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Re: Coral Reef Status

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
As a molecular biologist, and a lifetime reef keeper (I grow corals), I find it very interesting that folks think that reef builders (corals) disappear, and never come back. Corals have a big problem: When their environment changes for the bad, they can't just up and move. So, they bleach. Bleaching is not killing. It's a survival technique. But everyone SEEMS to think it's death. Corals also have a way of reproducing in massive numbers. This all means that while we see large annual changes in reefs, it's not always the dire news that it appears.



I know Gord isn't a fan of Peter Ridd. But here's his article (It can be found many places): https://iowaclimate.org/2021/07/23/p...ate-alarmists/


BTW, "The sky is falling" sells. "The sky is just fine" does not. Alarmists always win.
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Old 14-10-2021, 12:16   #8
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Re: Coral Reef Status

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
As a molecular biologist, and a lifetime reef keeper (I grow corals), I find it very interesting that folks think that reef builders (corals) disappear, and never come back. Corals have a big problem: When their environment changes for the bad, they can't just up and move. So, they bleach. Bleaching is not killing. It's a survival technique. But everyone SEEMS to think it's death. Corals also have a way of reproducing in massive numbers. This all means that while we see large annual changes in reefs, it's not always the dire news that it appears.



I know Gord isn't a fan of Peter Ridd. But here's his article (It can be found many places): https://iowaclimate.org/2021/07/23/p...ate-alarmists/


BTW, "The sky is falling" sells. "The sky is just fine" does not. Alarmists always win.


My understanding of coral from the general publics perspective is actually a symbiotic relationship between the coral (the structure) and algae (the colorful part).
During bleaching the coral expels the algae, leaving only the coral which without the algae present appears white or “bleached”, but still alive.
I think of it similar to a deciduous tree shedding its leaves, no longer being green but brown and dormant. However, in the case of coral the “leaves” (representing the algae) are a different organism.
But, as is the case of the leaves of a tree, it is the algae on coral that supplies the energy through photosynthesis. So, while a tree and coral can go dormant for a time, if the leaves of the tree or the algae on a coral don’t return, the tree and the coral without the benefit of photosynthesis will in time die.
So if the stresses that cause a coral to shed algae (in this case increasing heat) don’t return to “normal” in an adequate time and continue to increase, does that not lead to the death of the coral itself deprived of the benefits of photosynthesis for too long?
Do not corals of various species thrive in relatively small temperature ranges?
As a reef keeper, do you not regulate the temperature of the environment in which you grow your corals? What would happen if you steadily increased that temperature over extended periods of time?
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Old 14-10-2021, 16:51   #9
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Re: Coral Reef Status

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Originally Posted by japawil View Post
My understanding of coral from the general publics perspective is actually a symbiotic relationship between the coral (the structure) and algae (the colorful part).
During bleaching the coral expels the algae, leaving only the coral which without the algae present appears white or “bleached”, but still alive.
I think of it similar to a deciduous tree shedding its leaves, no longer being green but brown and dormant. However, in the case of coral the “leaves” (representing the algae) are a different organism.
But, as is the case of the leaves of a tree, it is the algae on coral that supplies the energy through photosynthesis. So, while a tree and coral can go dormant for a time, if the leaves of the tree or the algae on a coral don’t return, the tree and the coral without the benefit of photosynthesis will in time die.
So if the stresses that cause a coral to shed algae (in this case increasing heat) don’t return to “normal” in an adequate time and continue to increase, does that not lead to the death of the coral itself deprived of the benefits of photosynthesis for too long?
Do not corals of various species thrive in relatively small temperature ranges?
As a reef keeper, do you not regulate the temperature of the environment in which you grow your corals? What would happen if you steadily increased that temperature over extended periods of time?
At the risk of this escalating into a discussion about religion/politics/masks/vaccines/mono-vs-cat/anchor selection, "global warming", the sides are just the same. We can all discuss it, argue it, or otherwise beat it up, and we aren't likely to change many minds.

This is a great question, and it's been discussed. As you've noted, most stony corals (the ones we think of on reefs are called Small Polyped Stony corals, or SPS) are symbiotic. When stressed, they expel their zooxenthellae, and "bleach".

Stress is not just about water temperatures. It's also excess nutrients, beatings by storms, spills, too much fresh water, etc. Storms play a very large part in coral destruction. Also note that as with many cold-blooded animals, growth increases substantially with temperature. To a point. Under the right situations, SPS corals will double every month or 2. A 1" fragment in a tank becomes basketball sized in a year and a half! Most hobbyist corals are aquacultured. The colorful ones are so rare in nature, that when collected, the collectors take just a frag or 2, and then aquaculture from there. And corals respond insanely well to aquaculture.

Corals reproduce 2 ways: By physically dividing, or by spawning. As well, nature is pretty good about breaking coral off, and depositing it elsewhere, to grow a new colony/reef. Coral reef restoration is generally accomplished by fragging pieces of coral and super-gluing them in place. It's actually pretty cool.

When corals reproduce sexually, they do so via a spawning event. These events are HIGHLY prized by spectators - divers and hobbyists. The entire reef goes cloudy. Pretty insane.

So, your question about temperature tolerance. It's quite easy to breed corals. It should also be relatively easy to breed in heat tolerance. A quick look shows that they are doing this in Australia. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01753-x
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Old 14-10-2021, 21:05   #10
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Re: Coral Reef Status

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
At the risk of this escalating into a discussion about religion/politics/masks/vaccines/mono-vs-cat/anchor selection, "global warming", the sides are just the same. We can all discuss it, argue it, or otherwise beat it up, and we aren't likely to change many minds.

This is a great question, and it's been discussed. As you've noted, most stony corals (the ones we think of on reefs are called Small Polyped Stony corals, or SPS) are symbiotic. When stressed, they expel their zooxenthellae, and "bleach".

Stress is not just about water temperatures. It's also excess nutrients, beatings by storms, spills, too much fresh water, etc. Storms play a very large part in coral destruction. Also note that as with many cold-blooded animals, growth increases substantially with temperature. To a point. Under the right situations, SPS corals will double every month or 2. A 1" fragment in a tank becomes basketball sized in a year and a half! Most hobbyist corals are aquacultured. The colorful ones are so rare in nature, that when collected, the collectors take just a frag or 2, and then aquaculture from there. And corals respond insanely well to aquaculture.

Corals reproduce 2 ways: By physically dividing, or by spawning. As well, nature is pretty good about breaking coral off, and depositing it elsewhere, to grow a new colony/reef. Coral reef restoration is generally accomplished by fragging pieces of coral and super-gluing them in place. It's actually pretty cool.

When corals reproduce sexually, they do so via a spawning event. These events are HIGHLY prized by spectators - divers and hobbyists. The entire reef goes cloudy. Pretty insane.

So, your question about temperature tolerance. It's quite easy to breed corals. It should also be relatively easy to breed in heat tolerance. A quick look shows that they are doing this in Australia. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01753-x


Thanks for the explanation.
The linked article seems to indicate that they are indeed attempting to shift warmth tolerance southward, but indicates that scaling up from their efforts are not keeping up.

“Selective breeding can buy us time to get the reef’s problem under control, but it is no silver bullet. Heat tolerance from natural genetic variation will run out if the temperature continues to spiral upward.”

All of this seems to indicate that rising temperatures are a situation that needs to be addressed, does it not?

I understand that there are other stresses to take into account, but as per the original post the one being discussed is rising temperatures.
I agree that minds that have sincerely held beliefs are not likely to be changed concerning religion/politics/masks/vaccines/global warming etc. in a forum discussion.
Don’t you find it interesting that if given ones view on one of these subjects it’s often easily and somewhat accurately deducible what their views on the others tend to be?
As to mono vs cat and anchors; while opinions are often as sincerely held and polarized, they don’t tend to be as indicative of the other.
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Old 14-10-2021, 22:01   #11
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Re: Coral Reef Status

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All of this seems to indicate that rising temperatures are a situation that needs to be addressed, does it not?

I understand that there are other stresses to take into account, but as per the original post the one being discussed is rising temperatures.
I agree that minds that have sincerely held beliefs are not likely to be changed concerning religion/politics/masks/vaccines/global warming etc. in a forum discussion.
Don’t you find it interesting that if given ones view on one of these subjects it’s often easily and somewhat accurately deducible what their views on the others tend to be?
As to mono vs cat and anchors; while opinions are often as sincerely held and polarized, they don’t tend to be as indicative of the other.
First answer, which does tie to the second. Realistically, what should we do about it? Being a realist. Almost nothing. I mean, we can all work at it, but. If we were to remove the entire US CO2 output right NOW, it would delay whatever is inevitable by 3 years, according to recent studies.

We fool ourselves with wind and solar. They are really not very good alternatives. Read "Apocalypse Never" to get a good idea as to why they really don't work. Financially, except for those who OWN them, it doesn't. They are hugely supported by tax dollars, which is just a payoff by government to rich folks who own them. The only real solution to our energy needs is nuclear. And that's probably not going to happen.

As to positions. As I said, I'm a molecular biologist (geneticist). After all those years of education and lab work, never used it. The process was just so disillusioning. We've all heard "publish or perish", but most people really don't understand what this means. For some reason, the public thinks that scientists are immune from the call of the almighty dollar (Euro, or whatever currency you like). They aren't. There's no money in proving that something horrible isn't happening. There is no research money for a guy like Peter Ridd. Please don't take this as I'm supporting the guy. I'm not. It's just that the community bans those that don't toe the line. And by banning, I mean "no money for you!".

Whether you agree with guys like Peter Ridd, or not, you should be in favor of them getting funding. And in favor of them being able to publish results. If we only get one side of the story (the side they want us to get), we can't make good decisions.

Same thing with Covid "vaccines". I'm one of those that's firmly in the camp of "no mandates". That being said, my wife just got her booster, and I'm strongly considering getting mine (Moderna, not yet recommended/approved). Just because I'm against mandates doesn't mean I'm an anti-vaxxer. I've actually accumulated many hours digesting trials and studies. And I certainly understand those that won't get a shot. I think they are wrong, but who am I to tell them what they have to do?

Which brings me to one of my pet peeves: "reef safe sunscreen". See, I've gone thru his studies. My high school science teacher would have given him a D. His studies are just so, so sloppy. Does that mean I think sunscreens are safe for the reefs? Nope. It just means that the studies, so far, are so poorly done that you can't tell. I can also tell you that if a scientist were to do a good study, and if the end result is "sunscreens are fine for the reefs", he or she would be drawn and quartered by the scientific community, and would never get a research grant again. The study would get zero publicity. THAT is how bad it is.

Covid is the proof we've all been wanting for years about science BS. Because what's going isn't science, it's politics. This is those in charge, keeping us fighting each other. Because if we aren't fighting each other, or if there's no crisis, we all might actually have time to figure out that the politicians and their cronies are all just screwing us. Really. Notice how they keep changing their positions, changing the goal posts. Politics, not science.

So, that's a LONG explanation. Science isn't about science anymore. It's about money, self promotion and politics.

Final thought: Great Barrier Reef (and others). Sure, let's keep developing heat tolerant corals. Why not. Let's also put plans in place to help the process, when things go bad. We've done this in lots of other arenas. Replanted forests, captive breeding programs for sea turtles, etc. They work. Stopping the earth from warming? Probably not doable.

Second final thought: We are headed to Tahiti/French Polynesia for 5 weeks, next week. We were there 2 years ago. I'll be interested to find out what kind of effect the lack of tourism has had on reefs. In the BVI, they have had huge reef recoveries. FP, their top reef problems are agriculture runoff and pearl farms. The Tahaa Coral River is right across from one of the biggest pearl farms. The runoff from the daily cleanings of oysters has really affected the water - to the point that algae has taken over the Coral River. Sad.
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Old 15-10-2021, 00:36   #12
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Re: Coral Reef Status

I'll just leave this here:

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Old 15-10-2021, 01:20   #13
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Re: Coral Reef Status

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
... So, your question about temperature tolerance. It's quite easy to breed corals. It should also be relatively easy to breed in heat tolerance. A quick look shows that they are doing this in Australia. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01753-x
Wouldn’t large-scale selective breeding of corals for heat tolerance, if successful, tend towards a degree of mono-culture, as diverse 'natural' corals are replaced by these hybrids?
Haven't we, already, seen some of that tendency, in the recent reef regeneration, of the past year or two?

Not arguing/debating, just asking our expert.
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Old 15-10-2021, 01:45   #14
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Re: Coral Reef Status

It's interesting that "increased storm activity" is a cause for projected ongoing coral demise.


You'll need to start homogenising storm data if you want this shtick to stick, fellas.
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Old 15-10-2021, 09:07   #15
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Re: Coral Reef Status

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Wouldn’t large-scale selective breeding of corals for heat tolerance, if successful, tend towards a degree of mono-culture, as diverse 'natural' corals are replaced by these hybrids?
Haven't we, already, seen some of that tendency, in the recent reef regeneration, of the past year or two?

Not arguing/debating, just asking our expert.

Absolutely. Certainly a concern going forward. I'm sure that this has been considered. One might have to weigh this though - is ANY coral better than none at all? Also, just about every species of stony coral has been collected AND aquacultured. On a scale of 1-10, stony corals are about as easy as there is, for propagation. A 1 or 2.



Often times, man does a lousy job of "fixing" things. Sometimes nature does a better job by itself.
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