Good Great Barrier Reef news from Australia

This 2014 video is about the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

From WWF:

Landmark victory for the Reef, and people power, as dredge spoil dump ban passed in Qld Parliament

Posted on 12 November 2015

New laws banning the sea dumping of industrial dredge spoil have passed in the Queensland Parliament in one of the most significant conservation victories ever for the Great Barrier Reef, said WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said that, for more than a century, dumping huge amounts of dredge spoil in Reef waters was the norm. But the continuing decline of Australia’s national icon sparked an international campaign to end this out-dated practice.

“For everyone around the world who cares about the Reef this is a moment to savour,” said Mr O’Gorman.

“We’ve stopped up to 46 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from being dumped in Reef waters in coming years.

“That’s enough dredge spoil to fill 4.6 million dump trucks. If you lined those trucks up end-to-end on Highway 1 they would circle Australia three times.

“This is a huge win for people power. We thank the scientists, mums and dads, Australians young and old, and concerned citizens around the world who have all contributed to this victory. And we thank the Federal and Queensland Governments for listening and acting,” he said.

AMCS Reef Campaign Director Imogen Zethoven said: “The dumping ban becoming law sits alongside the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the World Heritage Area and the green zones as landmark moments for Reef protection”.

In June the Federal Government banned the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. But in recent years about 80% of dumping has occurred outside the park, closer to shore. The Queensland Government’s Sustainable Ports Development Bill now extends protection to the whole World Heritage Area. It also restricts major new capital dredging to Townsville, Abbot Point, Gladstone, and Hay Point/Mackay.

WWF-Australia and AMCS thanked the Liberal-National Party Opposition and two cross benchers for joining the government to support the Ports Bill.

“It’s particularly heartening to see genuine bipartisan support for the new law, since it fulfils key commitments made to the World Heritage Committee in the Reef 2050 Plan. The Queensland LNP should be congratulated for strengthening their position on Reef protection,” Ms Zethoven said.

Ms Zethoven said many challenges remained.

“The latest dredging plan for Abbot Point could be approved any day, the promised ban on transhipping has not yet been achieved, the Ports Bill doesn’t cover dumping of dredge spoil from smaller projects like marinas, and each year about one million cubic metres of spoil from maintenance dredging is dumped in Reef waters,” she said.

AMCS and WWF want to work with the Queensland Government to reduce that volume per year and minimise the impacts.

WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571

Indonesian fish and coral research

Whale shark

November 2011. Read here about marine research in Indonesia: tagging whale sharks, maybe new fish species discovered, and coral.

Scientists attempt to breed ‘super coral’ to save threatened reefs: here.

RYAN DUFFY: SAVING THE CORAL REEFS On this episode of “Now What,” Duffy finds how researchers are trying to rescue the coral reefs dying off around the world. [HuffPost]

Save Australian Great Barrier Reef coral

This 29 June 2015 video from Australia says about itself:

Great Barrier Reef table coral provides vital shade for passing fish

Read more here.

Glowing corals discovery in Red Sea

This video says about itself:

Glowing corals discovered in the Red Sea
24 June 2015

Corals that switch from green to deep red when exposed to ultraviolet light could provide a new toolkit for biomedical imaging.

From New Scientist about this:

24 June 2015

Glowing world of rainbow corals found in the Red Sea

There’s a fluorescent disco world in the Red Sea. An assortment of glowing corals has been discovered more than 50 metres down, outshining the monotone green varieties seen in shallower waters.

Jörg Wiedenmann of the University of Southampton in the UK and his team were surprised to see specimens with a red or yellow glow at depths of over 50 metres. “This could only be due to the presence of fluorescent pigments,” says Gal Eyal of the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Israel, a member of the team.

The lobed brain coral … changes colour from green to deep red when illuminated with ultraviolet light. Optical properties like this could be useful for biomedical imaging, for example to help highlight cell structures under a microscope, track cancer cells or screen new drugs.

Wiedenmann and his team want to find out why the corals produce the pigments. In shallow water, colours act as a sunscreen. But deeper down, where sunlight doesn’t penetrate, that can’t be the case. Yet the pigments must have a role since it takes a lot of energy to produce them.

The pigments might help the corals harvest energy from what little light is around, then feed it to symbiotic algae that provide them with energy-rich sugars. “The underlying mechanism is not understood,” says Wiedenmann. “Hopefully our future work can reveal their function.”

Corals also seem to be capable of other tricks. Although reefs are threatened by climate change, they are also able to put up a fight, sometimes evolving rapidly to adapt to their changing environment.

Journal reference: PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128697

Coral reefs and climate change

This video says about itself:

Coral Reefs and Climate Change

22 June 2015

Join the Smithsonian Marine Station for a live webcast on Monday, June 22 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST! We will be chatting with Smithsonian scientists working at our Carrie Bow Cay Field Station in Belize about working on this remote island and the future of coral reefs in the face of a changing climate. Submit your questions directly via through the Google+ platform or via Twitter using the hashtag #coralchat

New Zealand scientists voice concern over gagging on climate change. WELLINGTON, June 22 (Xinhua) — New Zealand scientists said Monday that government funding policies have effectively prevented them from making any serious input into the government’s climate change stance: here.

Save Florida corals

This video from the USA says about itself:

Coral Restoration Foundation, Planting staghorn corals

5 October 2013

Ken Nedimyer talks about the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery and how they plant staghorn corals on the reefs of Key Largo, Florida.

From Wildlife Extra:

1,600 Corals planted at Florida Keys Plantapalooza

To celebrate World Oceans Day divers from the Florida Keys-based Coral Restoration Foundation has planted 1,600 corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Some 70 divers sowed corals at six Upper Keys sites including Molasses Reef, Carysfort Reef, Grecian Rocks, Little Conch Reef, Snapper Ledge and Pickles Reef.

“It’s really important to get the corals out there in large amounts, but it’s also important because we’re involving a lot of the community,” said Kayla Ripple, the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery programme manager.

Staghorn corals are threatened, but Coral Restoration Foundation has had good success in cultivating and planting new staghorns where the species has died.

The small coral fragments were grown in a designated nursery about three miles from the Keys. The infant corals, about three inches long, are hung on a framework of PVC pipe resembling a tree to develop. After nine months, the staghorns typically reach the size of a dinner plate and are transported to offshore reefs where they are affixed to the sea floor with epoxy.

Since Coral Reef Foundation’s launch in 2000 the organisation has planted some 31,500 corals on upper and middle Keys reefs, however this is the organisation’s most prolific output in a single day.