Corals

Coral larvae being collected at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. This allows researchers to enumerate the number of baby corals settling on a reef.

Corals seek cooler pastures in subtropical waters

Coral reefs have been seeking new pastures, as rising temperatures heat up their natural habitats.

Over the last four decades, coral reefs have been progressively shifting their homes from equatorial waters to more temperate regions.

The reason? Climate change.

“Climate change seems to be redistributing coral reefs, the same way it is shifting many other marine species,” said Nichole Price, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and lead author of the paper on the topic.

The staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is a branching, stony coral with cylindrical branches ranging from a few centimetres to over two metres in length and height.

Coral restoration projects show promise in Florida Keys

Reef-building staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) was abundant and widespread throughout the Caribbean and Florida until the late 1970s.  The fast-growing coral formed dense thickets in forereef, backreef, and patch-reef environments to depths over 20 m. 

The crown-of-thorns starfish can sometimes be hard to spot using traditional survey methods.

New test to detect crown-of-thorns starfish

Outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS) are bad news for coral reefs, so it is essential that they are detected and dealt with as soon as possible.

But detecting an outbreak in its early stages is not easy. What’s more, they sometimes hide under coral plates, while the younger ones can be as small as just a few millimetres.

To counter this, the researchers at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) developed a new test to detect the presence of the starfish on coral reefs.

Nutrients such as fertiliser run-off from agriculture is harmful to corals.

Nutrients are bad news for corals

Typically, coral reef environments are low in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous compounds. However, such conditions are not set in stone as sometimes, passing ocean currents can bring in nutrients from elsewhere. In addition, man-made fertilisers and stormwater runoff from adjacent coastlines can also contribute to the nutrient levels.

And, high levels of nutrients are bad news for corals.

Staghorn coral
The staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is a branching, stony coral with cylindrical branches ranging from a few centimetres to over two metres in length and height.

Coral restoration projects show promise in Florida Keys

Reef-building staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) was abundant and widespread throughout the Caribbean and Florida until the late 1970s.  The fast-growing coral formed dense thickets in forereef, backreef, and patch-reef environments to depths over 20 m. 

Coral Guardian's team member, Sahril, ensures the maintenance of a restored coral reef.

Adopt a coral during lockdown

Corals are essential to the balance of the planet, but today they are threatened with extinction.  Thanks to restoration efforts as well as the construction of unique artificial reefs, dedicated to the rehabilitation of coral reefs in damaged areas, we make possible the return of lost biodiversity in this environment.

The ridged cactus coral, relatively uncommon but striking in its beauty, had reproduced in a lab for what the aquarium says is the first time.

Scientific breakthrough could save Florida’s Reefs

The corals were rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries after an outbreak of Stony Coral Tissue Loss disease commenced 2014. Previously, little was known about ridged cactus coral reproduction, as no photos, videos, or published studies were ever done on the species' reproductive biology.