New Publication: Kenyan and Mozambican coral reef ‘carbonate budgets’ contribute to international picture of corals under sea-level rise.

SPACES coral reef surveys have contributed to an international picture of how reefs might be able to grow to keep up with sea-level rise, recently published in Nature.

The growth of coral reefs is strongly influenced by the amount and types of coral living on the reef surface, but across both regions this growth is now being hampered by combinations of coral disease, deteriorating water quality and fishing pressure, along with severe impacts from “coral bleaching” caused by climate change. By counting the organisms responsible for building up and eroding reefs, SPACES team members Chris Perry and Fraser Januchowski-Hartley have been able to calculate the ‘carbonate budget’ and estimate how quickly reefs can grow towards the surface (the ‘accretion rate’).

In the figure below, the Mozambican (17) and Kenyan (18) SPACES sites can be seen in comparison to reefs from around the Indian ocean and Western Atlantic. The poorest reefs in […]

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New paper from SPACES team members shows the positive correlation between the orange-lined triggerfish and calcifier cover

SPACES Co-investigators, Tim McClanahan and Nyawira Muthiga, have recently published the paper, Similar impacts of fishing and environmental stress on calcifying organisms in Indian Ocean coral reefs (Open Access– free to read) in the Marine Ecology Progress Series. They investigated coral and calcifier cover in 201 western Indian Ocean reefs. 

McClanahan and Muthiga found that coral and calcifier cover were negatively impacted by ocean temperatures and sea urchins. However, they also found that coral and calcifier cover were positively correlated with the orange-lined triggerfish, a small predatory fish. They found that reefs with higher calcifier abundance also had a higher abundance of orange-lined triggerfish and lower abundance of sea urchins.

The investigators surmise that orange-lined triggerfish may help reduce sea urchin populations. This is positive for reefs because sea urchins inhibit coral reef regeneration and growth when their numbers become too large. In addition, McClanahan […]

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New paper from SPACES team members reveals ‘taboo tradeoffs’ that challenge the management of ecosystem services, and lays the ground for SPACES research

SPACES team members have published a new paper (Open Access – free to read) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA that explores the connections between a small Kenyan fishery and the wellbeing of five different stakeholder groups and the tradeoffs which result.

Caroline explains the scenarios (photo by Diego Galafassi)

Research team member Caroline Abunge at a meeting with a mixed group of fishers and traders introduces one of four future scenarios. These scenarios demonstrated tradeoffs by exploring […]

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