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Glimpse of Arctic seafloor reveals trawler’s damage

I’m in the Arctic in the waters of Svalbard, north of Norway, at 78º North Latitude during the time of year when the sun never sets. For a few days I’m a guest aboard Greenpeace’s ship Arctic Sunrise. We’re concerned about damage to the seafloor by a recent influx of fishing trawlers into the high…

Coral Reef Bleaching Event Forecast to Worsen; NASA Studies Cause in Pacific

Coral in every major reef region across the world has already experienced bleaching, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts that temperatures in much of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans could reach a point at which significant bleaching of corals is present this summer. NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch suggests that the greatest…

After El Niño, a Global Strategy to Save Corals

The future of coral reefs depends on the response and adaptation of corals to rising ocean temperatures. Finding reefs that serve as climate refuges and managing them globally is one of the highest priorities for action. To achieve that goal will require funding reef science beyond the borders of wealthy countries and prioritizing the monitoring and reporting of coral reefs around the world.

From Miami to Australia—Dredging and industrial activities killing coral reefs

Co-authored by Erica Cirino In the Port of Miami, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recent dredging project has buried as much as 81 percent of the area’s reef in silty sediment with up to 95 percent of the reef area surveyed no longer suitable habitat for corals, leaving its corals vulnerable to death, according…

World Oceans Day Celebrated in Compelling Photos

From the vastness of the world’s oceans, the mystery of underwater ecosystems to humankind’s reliance on marine processes, the ocean is a wonderfully strange, altogether necessary part of our world. It is on World Oceans Day that we reflect on all of the benefits, mysteries, and wonders of the ocean.

So you live near a coral reef: Why experts say that’s not good news for reef conservation

Co-authored by Erica Cirino My favorite beach on Long Island’s North Shore, where I live, is more than 700 miles away from the nearest coral reef (in Bermuda). This distance may be a good thing: Recent research suggests the further a coral reef is from human civilization, the better. (To get close from far away,…

Assessing the Namena Marine Reserve Off Fiji’s Vanua Levu

It has been almost impossible to predict which reefs would survive Cyclone Winston and which ones would sustain serious damage. There is no clear pattern so far. We would dive on one reef to find it broken apart by waves, then turn a corner and find a reef intact and flourishing. The fish and shark life seemed at this stage to be largely unaffected. We were lucky to swim with white tip and grey reef sharks, large manta rays, and big schools of big-eyed trevally, surgeonfish, and fusiliers.

Diving Nigali Passage in Gau

It is Day 3 in our investigation of Cyclone Winston’s impact on the corals of Fiji’s Vatu-i-Ra Seascape. On this day, we woke up to the tall green mountains on the island of Gau in the southern Lomaiviti group and anchored ourselves in the calm sandy lagoon. In addition to being home to the Gau petrel, the area is famous for Nigali Passage. Diving Nigali requires precision – you need to time the tide correctly otherwise you can easily be swept out to sea.

A First Post-Cyclone Look at Coral Reefs in the Vatu-I-Ra Seascape

We knew the eye of Cyclone Winston passed over Ra, destroying up to 90 percent of people’s homes throughout the province while churning up the sea in its path. So we were expecting some damage to the reefs. Heading out to our first dive site, we saw in the distance Vatu-i-Ra – an island of cultural and historical importance to the village of Nasau and home to nine species of breeding seabirds. With more than 20,000 pairs of breeding Black Noddies (Anous tenuirostris), the island is recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.

You Can Help End the Illegal Pet Trade

March 3 is World Wildlife Day and the theme this year is: “The future of wildlife is in our hands.” One often-overlooked aspect of this is the current crisis of the global illegal trade in wildlife for use as pets. From Peruvian titi monkeys to Central Africa’s African grey parrots to Madagascar’s plowshare tortoises, the illegal global pet trade threatens countless species, sending many hurtling toward extinction.

What Are We Actually Protecting In The Ocean?

One of the great recent success stories in conservation is the rapid increase in the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). Since 2006, there has been a staggering growth of 10 million km2 of new MPAs globally, a nearly four-fold increase over the past decade. Yet there has been no baseline for measuring how well our marine species are represented in protected areas. Until now.

A new paper we have published in Nature’s Scientific Reports assesses the overlap of global MPAs with the ranges of 17,348 marine species (fishes, mammals, invertebrates). We have discovered some sobering results: most marine species are not well represented within MPAs and several hundred species are not covered at all.

As Paris Delegates Debate Emissions, Climate Adaptation Is Finding Solutions

While world leaders at the Conference of Parties (COP) meetings in Paris negotiate reductions of global carbon emissions, a number of organizations are already working to implement solutions to the problems those emissions create. Many conservation and development institutions are focused on applied solutions to both the current and future impacts of climate change. Such efforts are helping wildlife and ecosystems adapt to changing climatic conditions.

Coral Bleaching and the Paris Summit

Coral bleaching is happening now and globally! Bleaching, Acidification, Sea Level Rise, loss of sea ice…Climate is an ocean issue, which is why the Paris Climate Summit beginning Monday has to succeed. With the return of a strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and ever warmer seas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has…

Our Heart Is on Banaba: Stories From “The Forgotten People of the Pacific”

“Our heart is in Banaba, not in Fiji,” Burentau Tabunawati explained, sitting cross-legged in his home in the Fiji capital, Suva City. “I am 76 years old, but still, in my mind and in my heart, I am on Ocean Island.” Tabunawati was born on Banaba, also known as Ocean Island, a coral island once…

Mesoamerican Race to Protect Parrotfish and the Reef

In a dramatic twist to the typical fishing tournament, this friendly competition among the four countries sharing the Mesoamerican reef (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico) rewards international players who catch less fish and protect more coral reefs.