1 Tahrcountry Musings: Increasing Human Noise is Affecting Corals

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Increasing Human Noise is Affecting Corals

A study carried out by a team at the Carmabi Foundation in CuraƧao in the Dutch Antilles led by Dr Mark Vermeij  have discovered  that coral larvae use sound as a cue to find coral reefs and swim towards it. How these simple creatures, the larvae of which look like tiny eggs covered in hairs, detect sound is still a mystery.
Coral aggregate to form vast reefs and this is now the most threatened ecosystems in the world. We still do not know the full intricacies of how these vulnerable animals complete their life-cycle.
Coral reefs develop in shallow, warm water, usually near land, and mostly in the tropics. The preferred temperature is 21 - 30 °C.  Coral reefs can be found off the eastern coast of Africa, off the southern coast of India, in the Red Sea, off the coasts of northeast and northwest Australia, Polynesia, off the coast of Florida, Caribbean islands and Brazil. Presently the major threats are water pollution from sewage and agricultural runoff, dredging, unsustainable collection of coral and sedimentation
The latest concern is the masking effects of human noise pollution in coral environments. Small boats, shipping, and drilling have contributed to the masking effects. The threat acquires urgency against the backdrop of the new findings.
Details of the research is published in the latest issue of journal PLoS ONE

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