Scientists Discover Skyscraper-Sized Reef… In the Great Barrier Reef

Guest “How did they miss this?” by David Middleton

PRESS RELEASE / OCTOBER 26, 2020

AUSTRALIAN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER 500 METER TALL CORAL REEF IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF–FIRST TO BE DISCOVERED IN OVER 120 YEARS

CAPE YORK, AUSTRALIA – Scientists have discovered a massive detached coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef–the first to be discovered in over 120 years, Schmidt Ocean Institute announced today. Measuring more than 500m high–taller than the Empire State Building, the Sydney Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers–the reef was discovered by Australian scientists aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor, currently on a 12-month exploration of the ocean surrounding Australia.

The reef was first found on Oct. 20, as a team of scientists led by Dr. Robin Beaman from James Cook University was conducting underwater mapping of the northern Great Barrier Reef seafloor. The team then conducted a dive on Oct. 25 using Schmidt Ocean Institute’s underwater robot SuBastian to explore the new reef. The dive was live-streamed, with the  high-resolution footage viewed for the first time and broadcast on Schmidt Ocean Institute’s website and YouTube channel.

The base of the blade-like reef is 1.5km-wide, then rises 500m to its shallowest depth of only 40m below the sea surface. This newly discovered detached reef adds to the seven other tall detached reefs in the area, mapped since the late 1800s, including the reef at Raine Island–the world’s most important green sea turtle nesting area.

“This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our Ocean,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “The state of our knowledge about what’s in the Ocean has long been so limited. Thanks to new technologies that work as our eyes, ears and hands in the deep ocean, we have the capacity to explore like never before. New oceanscapes are opening to us, revealing the ecosystems and diverse life forms that share the planet with us.”

[…]

Schmidt Ocean Institute
“Newly discovered 500 meter tall detached reef adds to the seven other tall detached reefs in the northern Great Barrier Reef.”

Does it strike anyone else as odd, that they can claim, with certainty, that half of the Great Barrier Reef is dead, while not knowing that there was a skyscraper-sized pinnacle reef sitting right under their noses?

Why does it always shock the “scientists” when they discover healthy, thriving coral reefs?

It seems as if every newly discovered reef is healthy and thriving… particularly if it is in a remote area and not frequented by tourists and scuba divers.

Why are these remote reefs miraculously immune to Gorebal Warming and Ocean Neutralization, while the reefs crawling with tourists and scuba divers are not?

More Mind-boggling Facts About Coral Reefs

Coral reefs can handle “highly acidic ocean waters”…

Pacific Mystery: Coral Reefs Are Thriving, But How?

Jun 5, 2015

A College of Geosciences researcher and her colleagues have found healthy coral reefs in highly acidic ocean waters. “The reefs appear to be thriving, and we want to understand why,” says Kathryn Shamberger, assistant professor of oceanography.

The team examined eight coral reefs in the Palauan archipelago and found high levels of acidification within the lagoons and inlets of the Palau Rock Islands. But despite the high levels, the Rock Island coral reefs appear to be extremely healthy.

“Based on lab experiments and other studies, this is the opposite of what we expected,” says Barkley, the lead author.

[…]

The team says that the acidification process in Palau is a natural one, due to a combination of biological activity and the slow flushing of water through the Rock Island lagoons that allows acidification levels to build up over time.

[…]

http://geonews.tamu.edu/news/2015/06…e-thriving.php

Sediment laden waters…

Coral reef thriving in sediment-laden waters

Rapid rates of coral reef growth have been identified in sediment-laden marine environments, conditions previously believed to be detrimental to reef growth.

A new study has established that Middle Reef – part of Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef – has grown more rapidly than many other reefs in areas with lower levels of sediment stress.

[…]

http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/feature…222710_en.html

Rising seas (AKA deeper water)…

Great Barrier Reef found to have thriving deep water coral

Updated 2:23 AM ET, Fri October 26, 2012

A recent survey of the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef has found coral flourishing in deep waters, a stark contrast to the shallower reefs that have seen a drastic decline over the last few decades.

The healthy coral populations were discovered to be below 30 meters — beyond the usual reach of most scuba divers — and even found at depths of 80 meters, according to the Catlin Seaview Survey.

[…]

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/26/world/…er-coral-reef/

Glacial cycles…

Rottnest’s tropical corals found to thrive

July 9, 2015 by Kerry Faulkner

Researchers are surprised at thriving coral growth at Rottnest Island, predicting its smaller coral communities could grow into a reef similar to the one that existed there in the Last Interglacial, approximately 130,000 years ago.

[…]

http://m.phys.org/news/2015-07-rottn…al-corals.html

Pollution…

Hong Kong coral reef thrives despite pollution

Amid major developments, territory’s scientists make unexpectedly pleasant underwater discovery.

08 Oct 2015

Marine life is thriving despite major developments at Hong Kong’s busy harbour.

Like any other marine environment around the world, this region is feeling the impacts of climate change and development.

Nevertheless, the stronger types of coral species are holding on despite the unrelenting conditions and scientists are now trying to establish how they survive.

[…]

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/1…112117433.html

Ocean zoning…

Scientific Assessment Of Curaçao’s Coastal Waters Show Healthy And Thriving Coral And Fish Populations

WILLEMSTAD – A recent two-week long scientific assessment surveyed over 150 dive sites of Curaçao’s shallow water reef sites and found signs of healthy coral and fish populations around the island, particularly in Oostpunt. The scientific assessment was a critical step in Blue Halo Curaçao and its comprehensive, science-based approach to ocean zoning.

[…]

http://curacaochronicle.com/main/sci…h-populations/

A lack of data…

For marine biologists, the destruction of the reefs has proven to be as frustrating as it is heartbreaking. Because reef habitats are so complex, and because worldwide reef monitoring and mapping efforts only began a little over a decade ago, scientists simply do not have enough information to keep tabs on the destruction of the reefs, let alone come up with an effective solution. At the rate the reefs are disappearing, they may be beyond repair by the time a comprehensive plan to save reefs can be put into place…

http://m.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Coral/

Harsh intertidal zones…

A Diverse Assemblage of Reef Corals Thriving in a Dynamic Intertidal Reef Setting (Bonaparte Archipelago, Kimberley, Australia)

The susceptibility of reef-building corals to climatic anomalies is well documented and a cause of great concern for the future of coral reefs. Reef corals are normally considered to tolerate only a narrow range of climatic conditions with only a small number of species considered heat-tolerant. Occasionally however, corals can be seen thriving in unusually harsh reef settings and these are cause for some optimism about the future of coral reefs. Here we document for the first time a diverse assemblage of 225 species of hard corals occurring in the intertidal zone of the Bonaparte Archipelago, north western Australia.

[…]

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/art…l.pone.0117791

Bad news about other ocean habitats…

Crown Jewel of Cuba’s Coral Reefs

Jardines de la Reina, a vibrant marine preserve, is thriving even as other ocean habitats decline.

By ERICA GOODE

JULY 13, 2015

JARDINES DE LA REINA, Cuba —

[…]

The sharks are a tourist attraction — at two of the many diving spots in the Gardens, they are fed to ensure larger numbers — but to scientists like Dr. Pina and Dr. Kritzer, their very presence here is an indicator of the coral reef’s robustness.

Research has linked the health of reefs to habitation by large fish, and the absence of sharks and other top predators is often a sign of a reef in decline.

[…]

The resilience of this coral reef seems beyond question. The waters inside the preserve hold 10 times as many sharks as outside, Dr. Pina said, and goliath grouper, rare in many places, are often seen here.

[…]

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/14….co/G6UkENfE29

Extinction…

Glass sponge reefs thought to be extinct are discovered to be thriving in ocean depths

Mummies, they’re called, these strange shapes that form one of the largest structures ever to exist on Earth. Stretching some 2900 kilometers from Spain to Romania, the long, sinuous curve of millions of mummies—once-living, vase-shaped animals—is a fossil reef. In its heyday in the Jurassic, the reef dwarfed today’s Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeastern coast. Now it is visible only in rock outcrops dotted across a vast area of central and southern Spain, southwestern Germany, central Poland, southeastern France, Switzerland, and eastern Romania near the Black Sea. The ancient reef was made up not of corals but of deep-sea sponges called hexactinellids.

Hexactinellids, or glass sponges, use silica dissolved in seawater to manufacture a skeleton of four- or six-pointed siliceous spicules. Individual glass sponges, such as the beautiful Venus’s flower-basket sponge (Euplectella aspergillum), are still found in the deep sea but are a different genus and species from the Jurassic reef-builders. Reef-building glass sponges, known only from fossilized remains, are thought to have gone extinct 100 million years ago, driven out by competition from newly arrived diatoms.

[…]

The surprise find

The darkness beneath British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound concealed the next chapter in an eons-old tale. For decades, hints of something alive—something no one had seen before—washed up on the shores of Galiano Island in the Strait of Georgia. Walking along a beach on the island, long-time resident Elizabeth McClelland found pieces of an unidentified object in the tide line. “Every so often, I’d come across bits of flotsam that were very delicate but very sharp,” says McClelland. “My granddaughter once found a fairly large piece of these unknown gifts from the sea.”

Then came an odd clue at the bottom of Hecate Strait. During a 1984 seafloor mapping expedition, scientists from the Geological Survey of Canada, using sonar imaging, saw mounds over huge areas of the seafloor—areas that should have been completely flat. Similar acoustic anomalies, as geological survey scientists Kim Conway and Vaughn Barrie referred to them, were observed again in 1986 during a survey of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Reef-building glass sponges gave up their secret to Conway and Vaughn in 1987: underwater photography in Hecate Strait captured the sponges on film. Far from extinct, the sponges were thriving in the depths off British Columbia.

[…]

BioScience (2008) 58 (4): 288-294. doi: 10.1641/B580403

http://m.bioscience.oxfordjournals.o…/58/4/288.full

An absence of scuba divers…

Corals in Musandam are thriving, report finds

MUSANDAM // A survey of the peninsula by an expedition of marine scientists and volunteer divers has found that its coral reefs are thriving.

[…]

For Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, an expedition member and one of the authors of the report, said when it came to the health of corals, the sites were in better condition than many locations famous for being scuba-diving haunts.

“It is an outstanding location,” said Dr Solandt, senior biodiversity policy officer at the Marine Conservation Society. “The coral health is excellent.”

[…]

The healthy Musandam reefs could well be a source of population recovery for reefs in the Arabian Gulf, where physical and man-made factors combine to create an environment that is more challenging for corals.

Many of the sites hosted very large colonies of the genus Porites. Some of the colonies, said Dr Solandt, were “the size of small houses”, indicating they could well be more than 400 years old.

This also most likely meant that no significant damaging events had occurred within this timeframe, said the report.

[…]

http://m.thenational.ae/uae/environm…g-report-finds

It seems to me that that scuba divers tend to whine more than other groups about Gorebal Warming and Ocean Neutralization killing coral reefs. I have also noticed variations of this in several articles…

[W]hen it came to the health of corals, the sites were in better condition than many locations famous for being scuba-diving haunts…

Maybe coral reefs don’t like scuba divers???

More sea level rise and deeper waters…

Deep-Water Coral Reefs Thriving Off Puerto Rico

CBSNEWS AP

Jan 14, 2011

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – As the ocean floor plunges off southwestern Puerto Rico, it reveals coral reefs dotted with bright-blue sea squirts and a multitude of other organisms whose existence has given hope to scientists who strive to save the island’s threatened ecosystems.

The organisms are an integral part of a group of reefs discovered to be thriving near an area where most shallow coral reefs and the fish that depend on them are in poor health overall.

The reefs – at a depth of up to 500 feet (152 meters) in an area 12 miles (19 kilometers) across – were recently discovered as part of a federally funded mission to conduct research on deep-water corals, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We stumbled across this area,” Richard Appeldoorn, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez who was involved in the mission, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Divers enrolled in a one-year training course to depths of up to 100 feet (31 meters) noticed the thriving reefs and large predators lurking nearby, said Appeldoorn, who oversees the university’s fisheries, biology and coral reef studies program.

[…]

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/deep-wat…f-puerto-rico/

Heat…

A Bright Spot for Coral Reefs

Air Date: Week of January 11, 2013

[…]

[C]orals in American Samoa are actually thriving despite the heat. At least that’s what researchers at Stanford University reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Steve Palumbi is a professor of Marine Science at Stanford University and a lead author on the research. He explained how corals bleach and otherwise react to the stresses of heat.

[…]

http://loe.org/shows/segments.html?p…02&segmentID=6

More heat…

Diversity of Corals, Algae in Warm Indian Ocean Suggests Resilience to Future Global Warming

12 February 2010

Penn State researchers and their international collaborators have discovered a diversity of corals harboring unusual species of symbiotic algae in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea in the northeastern Indian Ocean. “The existence of so many novel coral symbioses thriving in a place that is too warm for most corals gives us hope that coral reefs and the ecosystems they support may persist — at least in some places — in the face of global warming,” said the team’s leader, Penn State Assistant Professor of Biology Todd LaJeunesse.

[…]

http://science.psu.edu/news-and-even…Jeunesse2-2010

Coral reefs can even handle numerous predictions of their imminent demise…

December 19, 2013

Coral reefs, the great survivors

By Viv Forbes

For at least fifty years, agitated academics have been predicting the end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Now international “experts” are also sprouting coral calamity. But despite the alarms, the reef is still there.

[…]

Corals are among the greatest survivors on Earth and have been here for about 500 million years. Many of the types of corals found on reefs today were present in similar forms on reefs 50 million years ago.

Since corals first appeared there have been five mass extinctions when over 50% of all life forms on land and in the seas died.

[…]

Corals also survived several deadly ice ages when sea levels fell so low that many coral reefs left their skeletons stranded as limestone hills on dry land. But always some colonisers followed the retreating seas and survived.

Then came the hot climate eras when the great ice sheets melted and sea levels rose dramatically. Some coral reefs drowned, but others just built on top of the old drowned corals forming the beautiful coral atolls we see today. Corals flourish in gently rising seas such as we have today – it gives them room to refresh and grow vertically.

And if the water gets too warm, coral larvae just drift into cooler waters closer to the poles. The Great Barrier Reef would move slowly south.

Corals have outlasted the dinosaurs, the mammoths and the sabre-toothed tiger. Captain Cook’s ship was almost disembowelled by the sturdy corals of the Great Barrier Reef in 1770. If Cook came back today, he would be unable to detect any changes in the Reef.

[…]

No matter what the future holds, corals are more likely than humans to survive the next major extinction.

In the event of yet another Ice Age we must hope that reef alarmists have not denied us the things we will need to survive – food, energy, chemicals, shelter, concrete and steel generated by carbon fuels.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/…#ixzz3vEkoWpx5

Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

Atomic bombs…

Coral flourishing at Bikini Atoll atomic test site

Tue Apr 15, 2008

By Rob Taylor

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Coral is again flourishing in the crater left by the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States, 54 years after the blast on Bikini Atoll, marine scientists said on Tuesday.

A team of research divers visited Bravo crater, ground zero for the test of a thermonuclear weapon in the remote Marshall Islands on March 1, 1954, and found large numbers of fish and coral growing, although some species appeared locally extinct. “I didn’t know what to expect, some kind of moonscape perhaps. But it was incredible,” Zoe Richards, from Australia’s James Cook University, told Reuters about the team’s trip to the atoll in the south Pacific.

“We saw communities not too far from any coral reef, with plenty of fish, corals and action going on, some really striking individual colonies,” she said.

[…]

http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article…80415?irpc=932

Chicken Little of the Sea doesn’t even bother them…

Coral Reefs

March 2013, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 305-314

First online: 22 November 2012

Ocean acidification does not affect the physiology of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera during a 5-week experiment

A. Takahashi, H. Kurihara

Abstract

The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which has resulted from the burning of fossil fuels, is being absorbed by the oceans and is causing ocean acidification. Ocean acidification involves the decrease of both the pH and the calcium carbonate saturation state. Ocean acidification is predicted to impact the physiology of marine organisms and reduce the calcification rates of corals. In the present study, we measured the rates of calcification, respiration, photosynthesis, and zooxanthellae density of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera under near-natural summertime temperature and sunlight for a 5-week period. We found that these key physiological parameters were not affected…

[…]

Additionally, there was no significant correlation between calcification rate and seawater aragonite saturation (Ωarag). These results suggest that the impacts of ocean acidification on corals physiology may be more complex than have been previously proposed.

http://link.springer.com/article/10….338-012-0979-8

Offshore oil & gas drilling…

Spectacular reef awaits divers off coast of Galveston

KHOU Staff, KHOU.com

Jun 11, 2014

GALVESTON, Texas — When you think about Galveston, you probably picture sun and surf, maybe the Pleasure Pier or sometimes seaweed, but you probably don t think about great diving.

[…]

The sanctuary actually encompasses three separate areas, underwater salt domes that stand higher than the surrounding ocean floor. Snapper and grouper fishermen who saw the colorful sponges and other marine life under their boats are credited with discovering the ecological wonder in the late 19th century. The area was designated as a national marine sanctuary in 1992 and it s now managed under the direction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

[…]

At a time when coral reefs around the world are in decline, Flower Garden Banks is thriving largely because it s so remote it attracts comparatively few divers.

[…]

http://www.khou.com/story/news/local…7/25/12516962/

I’m really beginning to think that the only thing coral reefs can’t handle are too many scuba divers.

Coral reefs are amazingly undaunted by “a trend of widespread decline in coral reefs across the Caribbean”…

Scientists explore secret of Little Cayman’s coral reef success

30 December, 2014

By: James Whittaker | jwhittaker@pinnaclemedialtd.com

What is so special about Little Cayman’s reefs? That’s the question a new $140,000 scientific study at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute will seek to answer.

Scientists want to determine why reefs around the remote island are thriving and whether there are lessons that can be adapted to help protect and maintain vital coral reef systems around the world.

The new study will look specifically at rare and endangered coral species around Little Cayman and attempt to determine why they are bucking a trend of widespread decline in coral reefs across the Caribbean.

An earlier study by CCMI showed that coral cover had been increasing around Little Cayman over the past five years.

[…]

http://www.compasscayman.com/mobile/…aspx?id=148014

What is so special about Little Cayman’s reefs?

Here’s a SWAG… They are REMOTE.

Coral reefs even handled the much warmer Eemian (Sangamonian) interglacial stage…

Sangamon Interglacial: Paleoclimatology

and Future Climate Implications

by

Daniel Call

Introduction

Recent ‘extreme’ weather events, rising carbon dioxide levels and the growing evidence of retreating glaciers have increasingly become the subjects of much debate in the popular press and numerous fields of scientific research. Driving these discussions are questions aimed at discerning what drives the climate on Earth. Several have been noted in previous research: Milankovitch cycles, solar output, continental configurations and the most recent and controversial, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas atmospheric concentrations (Hambrey 2004). In order to understand what we should expect, both from a climate change perspective and from a changing biogeographical perspective during our current interglacial phase, scientists have looked to the last interglacial period in the geologic record, the Sangamon Stage (or the Eemian, as it appears in European literature) approximately 114,000 – 130,000 years ago for answers.

[…]

Similarly, the limestones deposited in coral reef complexes near Bermuda, the Florida Keys and part of the Miami Limestone had to have been formed in seas that are anywhere from 6 to 19 meters higher than current sea level with most sea level estimates being placed at 6 – 10 meters higher than today. These values represent data gathered during 2 of the lower sea stands during the Sangamon with the 3rd being much higher than the others based on ?O18 minimums obtained from oxygen isotope data of deep sea cores (USGS).

The implications of such a high sea level suggests that massive changes in a number of the elements that factor into establishing a particular global climate regime had to have occurred. Looking at Milankovitch cycles, the Northern Hemisphere, during the Sangamon, would have received higher insolation rates (solar radiation received on a surface during a unit of time) than today and a large portion of Greenland’s Ice Sheet and significant portions of the West Antarctic Ice sheet would have had to melt to produce the sea level rise necessary for coral reef derived limestone formations to have been generated at the elevations that they are present at today (Koerner).

Carbon dioxide concentrations weren’t as high in the Sangamon as they are today, but they were still much higher than any of the previous or following glacial periods. This combination of high CO2 and increased insolation due to Milankovitch cycle parameters would have altered the climate regimes around the globe. Global temperatures were thought to be 5-7 °C (9-13 °F) higher than the current interglacial period according to North Atlantic oceanic sediment cores with South Pacific oceanic cores showing a rise of only 3-5 °C (5.4-9 °F).

[…]

Across the majority of Europe, general scientific consensus was that the Eemian climate was much warmer and wetter than today’s environment. This resulted in the development of vast temperate forests and the rapid expansion of species, most notably Carpinus across the area (Turner 2000). Although the Eemian was consistently much warmer, evidence has been building that a large scale late Eemian arid ‘pulse’ dominated central Europe resulting in the widespread takeover of ecological niches by various grasses and shrubby bushes before returning to a warm, somewhat more moist climate dominated by temperate forests just before the most recent glacial stadial (Sirocko, et al. 2005).

[…]

Coupled with the climatic discrepancies are the discrepancies with analyzing how life will respond to the changing environment. As Smith and Buddemeier explained, looking at oceanic chemistry and a number of other factors, a rise in sea level could actually benefit most coral reef complexes if sea level and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise at anticipated rates within the next 100 years. The net effect would cause a drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide as more of this greenhouse gas gets incorporated as CaCO3 as various reef complexes grow. Overall, Smith and Buddemeier make a valid point when they explain that the number of factors affecting coral reef health and viability, coupled with the modest changes expected from various climate change simulations indicate that on a global scale, coral reefs are unlikely to be adversely affected by projected climate change. It is only on the local scale that coral reef communities could be at risk.

http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame…call3/sang.htm

Fortunately for coral reefs, there were no scuba divers 130,000 years ago.

More deep water and even more surprised scientists…

Science Features – Discoveries of the Deep—The Surprising Undersea World at Pulley Ridge

In the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 250 km west of Cape Sable, Florida, and 70 km west of the Dry Tortugas, are a series of drowned barrier islands known as Pulley Ridge. The ridge was found in 1950, but it wasn’t until recent years that scientists discovered something extraordinary.

The southern portion of the ridge is a thriving coral reef, a pristine habitat teeming with life and color. Here, more than 60 species of fish swim in predominantly clear, warm water. An abundance of algae sprinkles the seascape in vibrant reds and greens. Brilliant blue-purple corals stretch across the sea floor like giant plates. Octocorals, with tiny featherlike tendrils and colors that vary per colony, reach out with sometimes light and delicate and sometimes bright and knobby arms. And in the soft light that filters down from the distant surface, luxuriant fields of the leafy algae Anadyomene menziesii rise from the sea floor like patches of lettuce at dusk.

The reef was discovered in 1999, as scientists and graduate students from the USGS Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies and the University of South Florida (USF) boarded the research vessel Bellows and set sail for the Pulley ridge area, where a bathymetric map of the ocean floor showed a mysterious bump.

[…]

http://www.usgs.gov/homepage/science…lley_ridge.asp

Coral reefs can even handle being denigrated as endangered species…

Hybrid Corals: Sex Gone Awry or Saving Grace?

As the full moons of late summer and fall rise, so too, does the libido of threatened staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals.

By Marah J. Hardt on September 25, 2014

As the full moons of late summer and fall rise, so too, does the libido of threatened staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals. Awakened from a year of sexual slumber, each species shakes off the shackles of celibacy to engage in a mass-spawning a few days after the brightest nights. Facing declines of up to 97 percent in the past 30 years, these two species have been beaten back by disease, pollution, overfishing and climate change. Their yearly spawning should be a time of celebration. But after millions of years of successful group sex, the very act of reproduction may now be contributing to their ultimate demise.

A report this summer adds to a growing body of evidence that another coral, Acropora prolifera, may be overtaking reef real estate formerly occupied by elkhorns and staghorns. Far from a foreign invader, genetic tests show this coral is in fact the offspring of an elkhorn and staghorn cross. A. prolifera is a hybrid. And its apparent rise is an indication of coral sex gone awry.

[…]

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/…-saving-grace/

If Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata can interbreed to produce genetically viable offspring (Acropora prolifera), they are not distinct species and should not be listed as endangered species. Acropora is not endangered, prolifera should be a big, fat clue.

Coral reefs appear to be adapting quite well to climate change and Chicken Little of the Sea, if not adapting so well to scuba divers, snorkelers, agricultural runoff and idiots fishing with dynamite.

Coral reefs really do seem to like warm water and lots of CO2 in their diets…

The Eniwetok/Bikini coral reef complex dates back to the Eocene, when seawater pH was much lower than today.

Cenozoic seawater pH from boron isotopes in planktonic foraminifera (modified after Pearson & Palmer, 2000). Note that pH was lower than the PETM 51.5 (EECO) and 59.5 Mya.

Oddly enough, there is an unconformity between the Eocene and Miocene. There was apparently little or no coral growth during the Oligocene, a period of global cooling and falling sea level.

Cenozoic temperature change.  Funny how the PETM is often cited as a nightmarish version of a real-world RCP8.5… While the warmer EECO is a climatic optimum. (Zachos et al., 2001)
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Patrick MJD
November 25, 2020 10:48 pm

Must be due to CO2 reductions through COVID-19 lockdowns and Biden now PotUS!

TonyG
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 27, 2020 4:58 pm

Yep, next Republican president (if there ever is one), this reef will suddenly start dying.

jorgekafkazar
November 25, 2020 10:50 pm

Perhaps certain “Scientists” are spending too much time indoors, making stuff up, instead of getting out in the field and seeing what nature has been creating.

HD Hoese
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
November 26, 2020 6:48 am

Exactly, it’s called lack of ship time, oceanographers (real ones) have lamented for some time how difficult it is to get students to go to sea. Understandable as only some are adaptable, but since you can play oceanic computer games and only consider 2 (3 if you are adventuresome) decades of (certain) papers. Many posted here and elsewhere prove this and lots of TV showing healthy ocean that they miss. They need an education taking a slow boat to Bermuda or the like and read the stories in sailing magazines.

As for Glass Sponges they used to be sold in biological supply houses. Probably oversponging. Thanks for all the references, save for entertainment during infirmity.

Bryan A
Reply to  HD Hoese
November 26, 2020 7:14 pm

Apparently the Ocean is big enough to hide a skyscraper and no one notices

vboring
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
November 26, 2020 7:54 am

Tourists are bad for reefs:

Reefs can be harmed by some sunscreen ingredients: https://www.vox.com/2018/7/2/17525496/hawaii-banning-sunscreen

I would also assume that some boat engine emissions aren’t awesome. The CO2 may be harmless, but oil leaks, CO, particulate matter, etc.

And tourists who stay nearby help contribute to a tourism industry that creates things like pesticide and herbicide runoff from lawn care, untreated sewage dumped into oceans, stormwater runoff from streets with a film of car pollution, etc.

A laundry list of pollution problems that can all be fixed and have nothing whatsoever to do with CO2 or temperature.

Reply to  vboring
November 26, 2020 1:31 pm

Hawaii and Reefs:
We planned to visit Hanauma Bay, so purchased some rather expensive “Reef Safe” sunscreen from the ABC store at our resort. We got to Hanauma bay and found that, although they recommended use of reef safe sunscreen, it was not a requirement. We then had to watch a video showing us how to protect the reef. Once we got to the beach we applied the horrible sunscreen. It was essentially a very think aluminum oxide past, and smelled faintly of fish. We enjoyed snorkeling, and even saw a giant eel. We also saw virtually every tourist standing on the reef, exactly what the instructional video told us not to do. At the end of our time snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, we discovered that the reef safe sunscreen didn’t work very well at all. We both had quite bad sun burns. It kind of made our hike up to Manoa Falls a little painful.

Anyway, maybe enforcing their reef friendly behavior rules would help more than the reef safe sunscreen angle. Considering Hawaii doesn’t even have much for coral reefs, the whole notion of banning sunscreen is kind of strange. Probably more based on Do-Gooder momentum than on science.

Streetcred
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
November 26, 2020 2:25 pm

Considering the huge volume of water movement it doesn’t seem likely that the ingredients of “unsafe” sunscreen are going to linger long enough to do damage. Maybe in a test tube, but the open ocean ?

Leonard
November 25, 2020 11:02 pm

Shucks! There goes more global warming surviving and thriving coral reefs! What are the global warming doomsters and gloom-esters to do?
How can we get rich and famous if more of these positive stories are published?

David John Charles
November 25, 2020 11:31 pm

Oh, no!
Wasn’t the “science” “settled”?

November 25, 2020 11:32 pm

There is nothing that Queensland’s ‘Climate Change’ loving ‘scientists’ hate more than healthy coral After discovering a 500-metre high reef, many have had to take a week off to recover.

commieBob
November 25, 2020 11:55 pm

Once again, and as usual, we have the folks who write press releases putting words in the mouths of scientists.

A College of Geosciences researcher and her colleagues have found healthy coral reefs in highly acidic ocean waters. “The reefs appear to be thriving, and we want to understand why,” says Kathryn Shamberger, assistant professor of oceanography.

I’m pretty sure Shamberger didn’t actually describe the water as highly acidic. For a scientist to describe any ocean waters as acidic should be a firing offence due to incompetence.

There are laws about companies who make misleading advertising claims. link If a newspaper prints something false about someone, the paper has to print a correction that has equal prominence to the original false statement. So, why aren’t we protected from blatantly false scientific information?

Reply to  commieBob
November 26, 2020 12:51 am

+42

John F Hultquist
Reply to  commieBob
November 26, 2020 8:50 am

Maybe the original document provided a number or range for “highly acidic.”
The quotes do suggest special situations but do not explain.
Maybe the change from a normal ocean pH is significant, but anything below 8.0 ought to be explained.
I will note that climate scientists (& ocean types) have adopted the Humpty Dumpty Theory of Language, so their texts have to be read with caution.
https://www.fecundity.com/pmagnus/humpty.html

Scissor
Reply to  commieBob
November 26, 2020 9:08 am

I am forced to drink highly acidic solutions every day due to thirst.

jtom
Reply to  commieBob
November 26, 2020 7:51 pm

The range of pH in the oceans is huge. The Amazon River dumps a massive amount of water into the Atlantic, and the pH can be as low as 6.8 at times.

And there is a huge, thriving reef system at the mouth of the Amazon. Go figure.

At the rate these discoveries are being made, we should soon see articles titled something like, “Reefs – as endurable as roaches.”

Zig Zag Wanderer
November 26, 2020 12:17 am

The reef is fine!

Come visit for a ‘last chance to see’ every year. Bring tourist dollars!

Gregg Eshelman
November 26, 2020 1:04 am

If the water’s pH isn’t below 7, it cannot be called acidic. It can’t even be called “acidifying” if the pH is reducing from higher than 7 until it hits 7 (neutral) and keeps dropping.

The oceans are slightly alkaline or basic, not acidic, with a pH of 8.1~8.2.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 26, 2020 1:31 am

They’ve found an area of “highly acidic” ocean water? Really?

MarkW
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 26, 2020 9:29 am

I remember one scene from the movie “Dante’s Peak”. Due to CO2 bubbling up through the water, the water became so acidic that it ate through the bottom of an aluminum boat in a matter of minutes.

Hollywood and reality, never the twain shall meet.

November 26, 2020 1:48 am

“Measuring more than 500m high–taller than the Empire State Building, the Sydney Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers–the reef was discovered by Australian scientists aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor”

Discovered?

Are they claiming that two researchers discovered a tall coral reef that has never been mapped on a hydrographic chart?
That this reef posed real danger to ships, commercial fishing vessels towing their gear? And no-one knew!?

I didn’t realize that Australia had such poor ocean mapping offices and gear…?
That Australia and other countries engaged in fishing never identified this hazard to fishing gear…?
This, I doubt.

So much, that this “discovery” smacks of research fraud.

Jay Willis
Reply to  ATheoK
November 26, 2020 7:25 am

Actually it is quite possible. I ‘discovered’ a patch of seamounts off southern Australia in about 2008 while researching tuna. Great Australian Bight, about 200 nm off Port Lincoln. I noticed tuna aggregated near a magnetic anomaly and thought I’d discovered a very important test case because the charts showed the sea floor as flat as a pancake. But no, I had not discovered a magnetic (alone) attractor for tuna, it turns out they infilled the bathymetry with flat areas where they had no data.

Nobody offered me a massive news flash, or even the chance to name the seamount, because I was doing science and expected to find stuff. To be fair the breathless rubbish above probably came from the marketing department rather than the scientists. Nevertheless it’s good news.

Loydo
Reply to  Jay Willis
November 26, 2020 9:14 pm

Jay, I went looking for a lat and long for this new reef but it wasn’t anywhere easy to find, do you know where it is?

November 26, 2020 1:53 am

It’s time to re-think the narrative about corals, polarbears affrcted by climate change .

Ron Long
Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 26, 2020 2:22 am

I agree that polar bears and coral reefs aren’t cooperating with the dying planet narrative, so they must be replaced with new poster children. I wonder what they will turn to? Beyond my imagination, so will have to wait.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Ron Long
November 26, 2020 9:00 am

Ron,
Such things require a consensus, so major actors will have to get together at an exotic location, with fancy dinners, and many drinks. Suggestions will be offered. Agreement reached after three days. A toast with expensive Champaign will be hoisted. Then they will go back to their day jobs and soon magazine covers and articles will appear. Then you will know the annointed one.

In due time, you will be billed.

Graeme Revell
Reply to  Ron Long
November 26, 2020 4:43 pm

I thought it was all about wildfires now

Geoff Sherrington
November 26, 2020 2:30 am

Do you see the influences of sustained false narratives?
That corals, being beautiful, must be preserved; that they are threatened by Man; that everywhere, we see reefs in decline: that decline is caused by “acidification” and other effects like storms and sedimentation; that Man is loading the air with CO2 that causes more acidification. And so so.
Then when a pepr comes it, it typicallys says (ritualistically) that globally, reefs are showing signs of man-made harm, yet in this paper we show that they can flourish in conditions we predict should destroy them. Paper after paper has this contradiction.
There is such a great contradiction in the many papers Dave has listed here. Carried to its logical extreme, we should see enough papers saying that all is well, despite the obligatory opening that reefs are suffering everywhere.
It is a con.
Like Peter Ridd notes about sedimentation, you’d be lucky to find even a grain of sediment from man-made effects like agriculture as far out as the main Outer Reef of the Great barrier Reef – to which very few people have ever travelled.

Voltron
November 26, 2020 3:00 am

and the fact that up until today, that some Australian mammals, marsupials and monotremes glow under UV light!

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.

Hotscot
Reply to  Voltron
November 26, 2020 3:48 am

Voltron

But, But……I’m a climate scientist. I know everything about the climate, and Coral Reefs……………

Dodgy Geezer
November 26, 2020 4:09 am

“Measuring more than 500m high–taller than the Empire State Building, the Sydney Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers–the reef was discovered by Australian scientists…”

Never mind. A few depth charges will soon return the Great Barrier Reef to its previously threatened condition, and assure continuous work for the myriads of doom-predicting ‘scientists’…

On the outer Barcoo
November 26, 2020 4:28 am

Coral reefs are composed primarily of carbonate minerals, whose principle component is … wait for it … CO2. Go figure.

WILLIAM B HANDLER
November 26, 2020 6:49 am

I had a similar experience in hawaii a decade ago. I went snorkeling off Oahu, and was told the reefs were in bad shape due to global warming, as hundreds of tourists swarmed all over them. Whilst on Big island, with much lower tourist numbers the reefs were thriving. Same ocean conditions, same global warming conditions, maybe less pollution and definitely fewer people. But still I was told it was due to global warming.

DMacKenzie
November 26, 2020 7:17 am

Where the coral is the envy of scuba divers and other vacation goers…..it has also generally grown close enough to the surface where storms are a factor, is populated enough that crow-of-thorns predation is likely, and is accessible to tropical fish collectors using arsenic. So chances are that in 2 years it will appear to be dying. Extrapolation of limited statistics by coral “scientists” will show extinction is inevitable at the rates they measure.

Streetcred
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 26, 2020 2:34 pm

Dynamite and arsenic are internationally banned for use in collection of ornamental fish from the reef … though there are likely still occurrences in some parts of Asia amongst poorer fishing villages. Since damage to fish by arsenic is very noticeable and they consequently don’t live long, that is not good business for the collectors and wholesalers.

Malcolm Chapman
November 26, 2020 8:05 am

What a great post! Thank you. The piling up of examples was splendid comedy, and all very useful in an entirely serious argument. I went snorkelling off Malta once, in 1969. I had just discovered ice-cold Coca-Cola, so it was a serious zoological expedition.

Dr. Doug
November 26, 2020 8:11 am

OK, so what is the state of the hypothesis-tested science here? It may be all well and good to cite anecdotal examples of healthy coral reefs, but is there a systematic test of alternative hypotheses?

The implicit hypotheses in the post and some of the comments seems to be (1) that there is a systematic (cross-sectional) difference in the health of coral reefs depending on such human activities as scuba diving, certain sorts of fishing, and run-off of sediments from land activities (farming? sewage? industry?) -and- (2) that there is no systematic (time series) difference in coral-reef health due to growing levels of either (a) atmospheric CO2 or (b) atmospheric or pelagic temperatures or (c) pelagic pH. (Or, if I understand correctly, that coral reefs readily and quickly recover from shifts in temperature, alkalinity (“acidity”), or other features — no matter whether these shifts are natural or anthropogenic — through natural shifts in populations of symbiotic algae.) Do I have that right? If so, are there data sets that have been used to systematically test these hypotheses? Have the tests been done, and vetted?

I also well understand the possibility that tests reported in the commonly accepted scientific literature may fail to differentiate properly between different potential causes for local changes in coral-reef health. Is there a comprehensive critique that addresses this? Has the critique itself been subjected to criticism?

I’ve sometimes read here (and perhaps elsewhere) some ancillary hypotheses, such as (1) that scuba divers’ sunscreen (at least certain types) is toxic to corals and (2) that fishing either (a) directly destroys coral reefs (dragging?) or else (b) removes fish species that would otherwise contribute to coral-reef health by eating destructive organisms. Do I have that right? Are these the major hypothesized mechanisms, or are there others? Are these mechanisms well documented, and their effects tested?

I write as someone who endeavors to be a consistent skeptic, including in testing ideas that I myself might prefer to believe. I have frequently found food for thought at WUWT, but also frequently found assertions that do not seem well founded. What shall I make of this one?

Best wishes to all!

Mr.
Reply to  Dr. Doug
November 26, 2020 3:06 pm

Thanks Dr Doug.
My observation would be that our perceptions of all matters are shaped by our experiences of real-world outcomes.
This is what should calibrate our inherent bullshit detectors & meters.
Our rationality in other words.
So when it comes to how well coral reefs adapt to changes in their environments, I reckon we only look at what the Bikini Atoll reefs did in just ~ 70 years –
from total annihilation to healthy & growing existence.
Without any interventions from “science”

Thomas Bakewell
November 26, 2020 8:23 am

Another fine piece of work, sir. It’s just amazing what can come out of good field work: real measurements, real rocks, real documentation offered up for all to see.

November 26, 2020 8:25 am

So – with sea level rise from the last ice age only circa 120m –

has the crust under this 500m of coral been sinking through multiple ice ages?

We need core right through the beast – then when that can be dated – might know a bit more.

November 26, 2020 8:48 am

Mr. Middleman
Do you actually write all of these articles?
Or is there a writing team that signs each article: “David Middleman”.
Like “Tyler Durden” articles on the Zero Hedge website ?
Perhaps you are working with little sleep, knowing the world is going to end in 10 years from climate change, so you only have 10 years for writing articles ?
That’s my conclusion.
I have a 97% consensus.
And the science is settled.

Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2020 10:39 am

That was almost funny Middleman.
I’d like to see you onstage on amateur night at a local comedy club.
You must be a riot riot at parties.
Have a nice day.

Graeme Revell
Reply to  Richard Greene
November 26, 2020 4:42 pm

are you for real?

ResourceGuy
November 26, 2020 9:59 am

Since this does not fit the agenda science narrative, I assume it will get the silent treatment in Australia and maybe censure at James Cook “university”.

Old Retired Guy
November 26, 2020 11:08 am

It’s almost like these “scientists” never heard of Darwin, and evolution and adaptation. Or maybe it’s the PR literature majors.

Fran
November 26, 2020 11:42 am

‘Narratives’ are incredibly persistent. I was told that the DDT sprayed on the walls was why cats would not survive. I had 3 cats, 2 were killed by dogs and one got distemper. Go figure.

Mr.
Reply to  Fran
November 26, 2020 4:07 pm

Fran, I reckon cats are a bigger and growing danger to the environment than DDT ever was.
In Australia, for example, cats kill millions of birds, little furry animals, lizards and frogs every single night.
If they just killed rabbits for food, that wouldn’t be a problem, but I reckon cats are too lazy / cunning to try chasing down a rabbit, and instead prey on critters that are largely defenseless, and of negligible food value.
I’m sorry that dogs got your cats. Both these species of pets should never be let loose to run free in neighborhood streets or the bush.

aussiecol
November 26, 2020 1:27 pm

”Maybe coral reefs don’t like scuba divers???”…
It would be interesting to know how much CO2 gets exhaled onto the coral over a period of time. Would it have any effect?

Saighdear
November 26, 2020 4:11 pm

The Greenblob seem to like to poke at the thorn (perceived) in our eyes without seeing the festering Plank in their own eyes

n.n
November 26, 2020 4:12 pm

This is almost as good as discovering extinct species, or healthy polar bear populations threatening the viability of seals and walruses. Donate to World Walrus Foundation (WWF).

n.n
November 26, 2020 4:13 pm

The universe is our oyster. Closer to home… surprise!

Graeme revell
November 26, 2020 4:40 pm

They’re actually doing a crowd sourced mapping project now because they think this will counter all the “it’s not dying” science articles

Felix
November 26, 2020 8:58 pm

There is a peculiar subset of scientists whose brains switch from “no evidence of xxx” to “absence of evidence is evidence of absence”. No stone tools found from before 10,000 years ago? Then there were no stone tools from before that time. No mathematical way for bumblebees to fly? Then airplanes are impossible. No way for faster-than-light travel? Then it will never happen.

I can understand getting caught up in that way of thinking, but it is a straight jacket, and the sooner the wearer shucks it, the better.

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  Felix
November 27, 2020 12:19 am

Science is the process of asking questions like “How does this work?” and “How can we do this?” not making statements like “This can’t work.” or “We can’t do this.”.

Most of the scientists into the early 1900’s were various sorts of clergymen. They were the most literate people, they had most of the books, and they wrote and printed most of the books. They sought a greater understanding of how everything works.

Malcolm Chapman
November 26, 2020 10:50 pm

How much of this is to establish that JCU does real observational research, in the context of Peter Ridd’s experience and legal travails? Or am I just being very slow to pick this up?

observa
Reply to  Malcolm Chapman
November 27, 2020 7:09 am

Perhaps he actually pricked the doomster conscience.

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