Coral reefs are evolution hotspot

| 08/01/2010

(BBC): Coral reefs give rise to many more new species than other tropical marine habitats, according to a new study. Scientists used fossil records stretching back 540 million years to work out the evolution rate at reefs. They report in the journal Science that new species originate 50% faster in coral reefs than in other habitats. The team says its findings show that the loss of these evolution hotspots could mean "losing an opportunity to create new species" in the future. Coral reefs harbour a huge number of marine species – they are often likened to rainforests in terms of their biodiversity.

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Some years back Figi was experiencing the same bleaching of their coral that we are now facing.  Then all of a sudden, even thoug the water temperatures were still increasing, due to global warming, the scientists documenting the reefs noticed that they were actually growing back, at very noticeable rates.  They were never able to come up with an explanation and in terms of Figi, the only thing that anyone could peg it to was the fact that there was a huge Christian revival sweeping the country at the time.

    People can make all the tongue-in-cheek comments that they want to, but let me ask you this, if evolution is real and is a process that takes millions of years why is it that these new species just pop-up all of a sudden?!

    The greatest part is the scientific slight of hand that occurs.  Scientists go and observe an area of the planet that has never been observed closely before and then make an announcement of a new species and tie it back to evolution.  I don’t think so.

    • Eva-Lou Shaugneary says:

      I suspect that hardier creatures were prospering as a result of natural selection and that these creatures were better suited to the more difficult conditions.  What a wonderful example of evolution in action!  Species can evolve quite quickly indeed most quickly in stressful environments – see Lenski’s E Coli experiments which provides wonderful examples of this, or for non-experimental evidence see the mutation of anti-biotic resistant organisms which have evolved by a result of the same process.

      By the way it is Fiji.

    • Baby Jesus weeps... says:

      Yeah, and not only that but God can changethe name "Fiji" into the name "Figi". He can do anything, that swell God of ours!

    • BS Meter Goes Wild says:

      If only this post was satirical.  What a looney!  For anyone who wants an explanation of the post-bleaching recovery in Fiji, I suggest reading the Lovell and Sykes paper on the subject.   I didn’t see Christian revival given as a reason anywhere. 

      Where do these fundamentalist freaks get this garbage from?  The only thing is that they are so brainwashed that they can’t work out how stupid their arguments sound to rational human beings.

      • Anonymous says:

        " I suggest reading the Lovell and Sykes paper on the subject.   I didn’t see Christian revival given as a reason anywhere".

        That is what is known as a circular argument. If scientists writing a scientific paper did not attribute what they observe to spiritual causes then spiritual causes must be "garbage". Hello! A scientist will clearly look for physical causes according to his training and by definition will not find a spiritual cause. When will you people understand that what we observe in the physical world has its origin in the spiritual world so that one does not rule out the other?    

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do the religious feel that they need to use science to justify their beliefs and then launch into it half-a**ed?

      Fiji also has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, if I can find a correlation between changes increases in the suicide rate and recovery of the coral reef does that mean that they are connected? Would you kill yourself to save the reef? How about the increase in religion and the suicide rate or vice versa? Would you stop believing if it would cause the suicide rate to drop? You can find correlations between all manner of phenomena, you still have to demonstrate a relationship empirically by testing. If you adjust one variable and the other follows suit you have demonstrated a relationship.

      No go to Fiji, remove the Christian population and see whether the reef dies. (If the suicide rate drops too, please make a note.) Put them back and see how the reef recovers, double the number of christians and see whether the reef grows more quickly. Then ask yourself, "could anything else be responsible for what I am seeing."

      And, please get it into your head that evolution happens constantly. It has taken millions and billions of years to get where we are now but each time a new organism is born evolution marches steadily on. Scientists observe any species anywhere and tie it back to evolution!

  2. Anonymous says:

    no barrier reef = no Cayman. Goodbye.

  3. Baby Jesus weeps... says:

    Oh my, evolution on the reefs surrounding our islands, gay cruiseships approaching. What next? Human rights pamphlets falling from the sky?

    These are dark days for the Cayman Ministers Association. Dark days indeed.

    Best to pray and fast. That’ll fix everything.

  4. Cayman Taliban says:

    There is no ‘evolution’ going on in the Cayman coral. We are a Christian nation and such things do not happen here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately, calling ourself a duck doesn’t mean that we’re quacking. The application of the word of God and the evidence of it in our ability to love our neighbour, love God and walk in the Spirit means we’re quacking.

      When I say, love our neighbour, I mean TRULY, love them, not just say that we do. Meaning, we don’t get to conveniently "select" who our neighbour is? Meaning, even when they offend us? Meaning even when they take care of our children every day and we pay them $100 a week knowing full well that we wouldn’t have the foggiest of how to survive minimally on that? That kinda thing.

      Meaning, seeing our neighbour (or even family!) experience pain or suffering and say "dah wah you get!"… That sort of stuff. God help us!

      … starting with me.