Reply To: Global warming threatens biodiversity

From Science news (need subscription to view after a month):
Something is harming the world’s coral reefs, and now researchers think they may have identified at least part of the problem: A devastating disease appears to attack the healthiest coral whenever sea temperatures rise. If that conclusion holds, it could force a rethinking of policies intended to protect the reefs.

The team’s research is important because it applies an epidemiological approach to an infectious disease affecting the reef, says marine scientist Richard Aronson of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama. That method has produced the key finding: “Temperature-mediated disease outbreaks will preferentially affect denser, healthier coral populations,” he says. Consequently, mirroring efforts to establish Marine Protected Areas, which are intended to increase fish populations, might not be the best strategy for protecting coral, Aronson says, unless it is coupled with an attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change, because encouraging denser populations in warming seas could render them more vulnerable to diseases.

Putting the Heat on Coral

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/05/23 09:34