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Good news about coral reefs they recovered from warming
Watts Up With That? ^ | April 7, 2013 | by Anthony Watts

Posted on 04/08/2013 6:04:04 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Back in 1998, when we had the super El Niño, some of the warm water pooled east and west of Australia (seen in the 1998 image below) and damaged coral reefs there, setting off a cottage industry for noisy alarmy/worry types like Ove Hoegh-Guldberg that have turned the “save the coral reefs” issue into a career.


1998 Super El ñino – Image: NOAA/NESDIS – click to enlarge

Now it seems that mother nature has simply ignored his concerns and does what she does best – adapt and fill the void, and saved the reefs on her own. This must be devastating news for him.

From the Australian Institute of Marine Science:

Remote reefs can be tougher than they look

WA’s Scott Reef has recovered from mass bleaching in 1998

Isolated coral reefs can recover from catastrophic damage as effectively as those with nearby undisturbed neighbours, a long-term study by marine biologists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) has shown.

Scott Reef, a remote coral system in the Indian Ocean, has largely recovered from a catastrophic mass bleaching event in 1998, according to the study published in Science today. 

The study challenges conventional wisdom that suggested isolated reefs were more vulnerable to disturbance, because they were thought to depend on recolonisation from other reefs. Instead, the scientists found that the isolation of reefs allowed surviving corals to rapidly grow and propagate in the absence of human interference.

Australia’s largest oceanic reef system, Scott Reef, is relatively isolated, sitting out in the Indian Ocean some 250 km from the remote coastline of north Western Australia (WA). Prospects for the reef looked gloomy when in 1998 it suffered catastrophic mass bleaching, losing around 80% of its coral cover. The study shows that it took just 12 years to recover.

Spanning 15 years, data collected and analysed by the researchers shows how after the 1998 mass bleaching the few remaining corals provided low numbers of recruits (new corals) for Scott Reef. On that basis recovery was projected to take decades, yet within 12 years the cover and diversity of corals had recovered to levels similar to those seen pre-bleaching.

“The initial projections for Scott Reef were not optimistic,” says Dr James Gilmour from AIMS, the lead author on the publication, “because, unlike reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, there were few if any reefs nearby capable of supplying new recruits to replenish the lost corals at Scott Reef.

“However, the few small corals that did settle at Scott Reef had excellent rates of survival and growth, whereas on many nearshore reefs high levels of algae and sediment, and poor water quality will often suppress this recovery.

“We know from other studies that the resilience of reefs can be improved by addressing human pressures such as water quality and overfishing,” says Dr Gilmour. “So it is likely that a key factor in the rapid recovery at Scott Reef was the high water clarity and quality in this remote and offshore location.”

Dr Andrew Heyward, Principal Research Scientist at AIMS, highlights another conclusion from their findings.

“Previously we’ve tended to factor proximity to other reefs as a key attribute when estimating the resilience of a reef following a major disturbance, but our data suggests that given the right conditions, reefs might do much of the recovery by themselves.”  This finding could have implications for the management of marine protected areas.

In their publication the team also draws attention to the important role played by climate change in the longer-term prospects for coral reefs, as Prof Morgan Pratchett of CoECRS explains.

“While it is encouraging to see such clear recovery, we need to be mindful of the fact that the coral recovery at Scott Reef still took over a decade. If, as the climate change trend suggests, we start to see coral bleaching and other related disturbances occurring more frequently, then reefs may experience a ratcheting down effect, never fully recovering before they suffer another major disturbance.

“By preventing illegal fishing and enhancing water quality on coral reefs in all regions we will give these reefs a greater capacity to recover from major disturbances.”

The highly detailed, long-term data set makes Scott Reef the best studied reef in Australia’s Indian Ocean territory. The study provides valuable new perspectives on ecosystem function and resilience of coral reefs situated in the northwest Australia, and in other contexts such as the Great Barrier Reef, and illustrates the importance of AIMS’ research collaborations with its industry partners.

The paper “Recovery of an isolated coral reef system following severe disturbance“, by J. P. Gilmour, L. D. Smith, A. J. Heyward, A. H. Baird and M. S. Pratchett will be published online at 5 am by the journal Science on Friday, 5th April, 2013.


h/t to Mark Duchamp. Note that even though the authors say this is good news, they can’t help but throw in standard “climate change” caveats as a nod to the warming gods.

Recovery of an Isolated Coral Reef System Following Severe Disturbance

James P. Gilmour1,*, Luke D. Smith1,,Andrew J. Heyward1,Andrew H. Baird2,Morgan S. Pratchett2


Coral reef recovery from major disturbance is hypothesized to depend on the arrival of propagules from nearby undisturbed reefs. Therefore, reefs isolated by distance or current patterns are thought to be highly vulnerable to catastrophic disturbance. We found that on an isolated reef system in north Western Australia, coral cover increased from 9% to 44% within 12 years of a coral bleaching event, despite a 94% reduction in larval supply for 6 years after the bleaching. The initial increase in coral cover was the result of high rates of growth and survival of remnant colonies, followed by a rapid increase in juvenile recruitment as colonies matured. We show that isolated reefs can recover from major disturbance, and that the benefits of their isolation from chronic anthropogenic pressures can outweigh the costs of limited connectivity.

Editor’s Summary:

Reef Repair

Coral reefs suffer mass mortality because of coral bleaching, disease, and tropical storms, but we know much more about when, where, and how rapidly these ecosystems have collapsed than we do about their recovery. Gilmour et al. (p. 69; see the Perspective by Polidoro and Carpenter) studied a highly isolated coral reef before and after a climate-induced mass mortality event that killed 70 to 90% of the reef corals. The initial recovery of coral cover involved growth and survival of remnant colonies, which was followed by increases in larval recruitment. Thus, in the absence of chronic disturbance, even isolated reefs can recover from catastrophic disturbance.

Related articles:

The reef that regenerated: Researchers find corals in Northern Australia healed themselves in just 12 years

Read more:–humans-leave-alone.html#ixzz2PngdoOqb

Australian reef recovers from bleaching

TOPICS: Conspiracy; Science; Weather
KEYWORDS: climatechange; globalwarming; globalwarminghoax

1 posted on 04/08/2013 6:04:04 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: SunkenCiv; Marine_Uncle; Fred Nerks; Carry_Okie; blam; Lorianne; Twotone; bigbob; NormsRevenge; ...

Good news ping!

2 posted on 04/08/2013 6:05:07 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ((The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?))
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

We are going to live!!!!

3 posted on 04/08/2013 6:06:00 PM PDT by bmwcyle (People who do not study history are destine to believe really ignorant statements.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Just like those spotted owls.

4 posted on 04/08/2013 6:06:14 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

When I was in the Keys last year, the reefs had not only “recovered” but were spawning.

5 posted on 04/08/2013 6:08:04 PM PDT by Little Ray (How did I end up in this hand-basket, and why is it getting so hot?)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
God's marvelous creation (and He saw and it was all good) actually (gasp !) HEALS itself !!?

Next thing yer gonn'a try to cram down our throats is that oil is not dead dinosaurs but ... a product unto itself produced from within earth's molten core ... yeah ... right.

6 posted on 04/08/2013 6:10:45 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach


There are more important things in this world than Coral Reefs for mankind to survive.


7 posted on 04/08/2013 6:11:43 PM PDT by 353FMG ( I do not indicate whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Bad science grows like weeds. Pull one up, ten more grow. And there is always someone like Ove Hoegh-Guldberg around to lead the charge.

8 posted on 04/08/2013 6:16:09 PM PDT by Rocky (Obama is pure evil.)
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To: All
Down a number of paragraphs there is a warning about future warming due to climate change....All research seems to require such statements....


The Money continues to flow...for research calling out the dangers from Climate change....

9 posted on 04/08/2013 6:17:12 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ((The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?))
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; windcliff

Good Reef, Charlie Brown!

10 posted on 04/08/2013 6:17:13 PM PDT by I Drive Too Fast
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
“While it is encouraging to see such clear recovery, we need to be mindful of the fact that the coral recovery at Scott Reef still took over a decade.

In otherwords, the reef grew faster than expected for ten years in a row from a severe metrological event. If, as the climate change trend suggests, we start to see coral bleaching...

Uh, the trend was one event and ten years of spontainous rapid growth. The "trend" was NON-Bleaching!

“By preventing illegal fishing...

Obviously these idiots never spent any time diving, as fish EAT Coral. I really have come to believe that those who refuse reality and make up make believe worlds to excuse making laws against people are passive Psycopaths. They may not pick up an axe to murder people, but they spend their lives picking up pens to do the same thing.

11 posted on 04/08/2013 6:17:27 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: Little Ray

We still have major areas of dead coral down here in the fab Fla. Keys. But, I’ll give you an example of how it all works.
During an excavation a salvor screwed up and dug a huge metal blade of sorts into the marl bottom near Hawk’s channel a few miles from the coral reef.
Several years later an examination of the same scrape of the coral revealed substantial coral growth.
When the libs cry the sky is falling in whatever venue they chose,usually the sky never falls.

12 posted on 04/08/2013 6:20:25 PM PDT by rodguy911 (FreeRepublic:Land of the Free because of the Brave--Sarah Palin our secret weapon)
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To: American in Israel
Fish eat coral.....GASP!!!

Who knew....

13 posted on 04/08/2013 6:21:33 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ((The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?))
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Good news indeed!

Wifey wants to do another Caribbean cruise, I enjoy snorkeling.. St maarten, St Thomas’s St john, caaymans and Cancun and Hawaii ,, damn near drown and got sick as a dog one time,, ear plugs might have helped. :-)

14 posted on 04/08/2013 6:47:36 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Yup. You can actually hear it if you are close to them underwater.

15 posted on 04/08/2013 6:53:31 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: I Drive Too Fast


16 posted on 04/08/2013 6:54:23 PM PDT by windcliff
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I had a talk with a friend down in Key West regarding coral reefs. Mel was extracting wrecked Spanish galeons and found some of the ship parts were under three feet of coral, solid coral.

So, did the ship hit the reef so hard that it came to rest three feet deep beneath solid coral? Or did the coral grow over it? Remember, all you lurking Libtards, that coral IS harder than wood.

Time’s up! All who guessed the coral grew over the ships guessed right.

Now, consider that coral can lay down a foot of solid reef in 100 years. The Plate Fleet, and others like it, was lost about 300 years ago - and have proportionate amounts of coral over parts of them.

Bleaching is a naturally occurring and recurring event. If corals were any slight bit as fragile as enviro-commies claim, they would have gone extinct long ago.

17 posted on 04/08/2013 7:20:45 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."..)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

So Nemo may survive after all. :)

18 posted on 04/08/2013 10:35:32 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Galt level is not far away......)
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