Environmental Factors and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef By: Christian Laidlaw

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Transcript of Environmental Factors and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef By: Christian Laidlaw

  • Environmental Factors and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef By: Christian Laidlaw

  • Coral Reef BleachingWhat is it?Coral bleaching occurs when the thermal tolerance of corals and their photosynthetic symbionts (zooxanthellae) is exceeded. Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove (1999) . Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world's coral reefs.Marine and Freshwater Research50, 839866

    What causes it?Bleaching is frequently caused by elevated sea water temperature. A small positive anomaly of 1-2 degrees C for 5-10 weeks during the summer season will usually induce bleaching. Buchheim, J. (1998).Coral reef bleaching. Retrieved from http://www.marinebiology.org/coralbleaching.htm

  • Negative EffectsBelize, because of its medley of cultural attractions, unique marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and conservation efforts, is fast becoming a hot spot for travelers seeking ecotourism and adventure vacation experiences. Belize Barrier Reef. (2009, February 21).New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:28, June 27, 2011 fromhttp://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Belize_Barrier_Reef?oldid=932529 Since human populations inhabiting tropical coastal areas derive great value from coral reefs, the degradation of these ecosystems as a result of coral bleaching and its associated impacts is of considerable societal, as well as biological concern. Andrew C. Baker et al., Climate change and coral reef bleaching: An ecological assessment of long-term impacts, recovery trends and future outlook, Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. (2008), doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2008.09.003

  • How Bleaching Kills the CoralBleaching sets the stage for other declines in reef health, such as increases in coral diseases, the breakdown of reef framework by bioeroders, and the loss of critical habitat for associated reef shes and other biota.Andrew C. Baker et al., Climate change and coral reef bleaching: An ecological assessment of long-term impacts, recovery trends and future outlook, Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. (2008), doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2008.09.003 While highly variable among species, field experiments in the Caribbean have shown that bleached corals regenerate tissue lesions more slowly than unbleached corals. Andrew C. Baker et al., Climate change and coral reef bleaching: An ecological assessment of long-term impacts, recovery trends and future outlook, Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. (2008), doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2008.09.003

  • Introduced or Unwanted SpeciesThis invasive carnivore can significantly reduce biodiversity of a local habitat and can drive important fish species to extinction, negatively affecting coral reef ecosystems.Bervoets , T. (2010).St. maarten nature foundation lionfish response plan. Retrieved from http://www.icriforum.org/sites/default/files/Lionfish_Response_Plan%20final%20SXM.pdf The lionfish represents a major threat to coral reef ecosystems by decreasing survival of a wide range of native reef animals via both predation and competition.Bervoets , T. (2010).St. maarten nature foundation lionfish response plan. Retrieved from http://www.icriforum.org/sites/default/files/Lionfish_Response_Plan%20final%20SXM.pdf

    Lionfish

  • Lionfish contd.The introduction of lionfish is also a concern because it preys on the juveniles of many commercial species, including snapper, grouper and parrotfishBervoets , T. (2010).St. maarten nature foundation lionfish response plan. Retrieved from http://www.icriforum.org/sites/default/files/Lionfish_Response_Plan%20final%20SXM.pdf

    Because of the toxic spines of the species and because of an amino acid that it secretes, there are no predators which would have the potential to actively prey on lionfish in the Atlantic.Bervoets , T. (2010).St. maarten nature foundation lionfish response plan. Retrieved from http://www.icriforum.org/sites/default/files/Lionfish_Response_Plan%20final%20SXM.pdf

  • Protective MeasuresControlling the LionfishIn order to control the rising population of the invasive Lionfish, the Mesoamerican Relief Fund provides workshops on how to properly capture and handle the destructive fish.The organizations trains individuals using field activities to try to eliminate the unwanted species of fish.

  • Protective MeasuresTraining individuals on how to control the lionfish is the only way the population can be kept under control, because of a current lack of a natural predator in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

  • BibliographyAndrew C. Baker et al., Climate change and coral reef bleaching: An ecological assessment of long-term impacts, recovery trends and future outlook, Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. (2008), doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2008.09.003

    Belize Barrier Reef. (2009, February 21).New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:28, June 27, 2011 fromhttp://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Belize_Barrier_Reef?oldid=932529

    Bervoets , T. (2010).St. maarten nature foundation lionfish response plan. Retrieved from http://www.icriforum.org/sites/default/files/Lionfish_Response_Plan%20final%20SXM.pdf

    Buchheim, J. (1998).Coral reef bleaching. Retrieved from http://www.marinebiology.org/coralbleaching.htm