Caribbean reefs in worse shape than Indo-Pacific

| 17/07/2012

dead-coral-reef.jpg(Sail-world.com): Leading marine scientists have said that Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef, recover faster from major stresses than their Caribbean counterparts. Dr George Roff and Professor Peter Mumby from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland told the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns that coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean are naturally tougher than the Caribbean reefs. 'The main reason that Indo-Pacific reefs are more resilient is they have less seaweed than the Caribbean Sea,' Dr Roff says. 'Seaweed and corals are age-old competitors in the battle for space.

“When seaweed growth rates are lower, such as the Indo-Pacific region, the reefs recover faster from setbacks. This provides coral with a competitive advantage over seaweed, and our study suggests that these reefs would have to be heavily degraded for seaweeds to take over,” he said.

Many of the doom and gloom stories have emanated from the Caribbean, which has deteriorated rapidly in the last 30 years,' says Professor Mumby. 'We now appreciate that the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean are far more different than we thought.'

The study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE), includes survey data Indo-Pacific region and Caribbean reefs from 1965 to 2010.

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Category: Science and Nature

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The North Sound reef was a perfect forest of elkhorn and staghorn before Gilbert destroyed it.  25 years later still no recovery.  We could do something about the algae by doing something about the sewage. Wherever you see bright green on the rocks by the shore you will see drains. Old Man Bay is an example.