Nav: Home

Research calls for new approach to tropical marine conservation

November 06, 2018

In an article in Current Biology, Dr Richard Unsworth from the University's College of Science, has revealed that people are relying on coral reefs less for their livelihoods as the reefs are increasingly under threat and facing an uncertain future due to increasing rates of climate change and rising global temperatures.

Instead, the article shows that people are looking to seagrass meadows as a means for fisheries support, but this is putting these habitats under increasing threat around the world. There is now an urgent need to broaden the focus of tropical marine conservation. Although seagrass is globally widespread, there is evidence of rising levels of degradation due to local water problems and physical disturbance, but these are factors that can be managed at local scales. Unsworth said "With the right support there can be a brighter future for seagrass".

While the decline of coral reefs has garnered a great deal of attention and conservation efforts, Dr Unsworth says that the time is right for the tropical marine conservation community broadened its focus and become more realistic. Conservation efforts, it is argued, can no longer afford to focus exclusively on coral reefs but need to also safeguard seagrass into the future. There is an increasing focus on costly fanciful ideas to save coral reefs, but no recognition of thinking across the broader tropical marine seascape to rationalise where resources could be more efficiently focussed.

Dr Unsworth said: "Governments, NGOs and communities need to increase and reprioritise conservation efforts and use their limited conservation resources in a more targeted manner in order to attain sustainable systems. For seagrass, there are practicable conservation opportunities to develop sustainable ways to respond to increased resource use. Targeted action now could restore and protect seagrass meadows to maintain and many ecosystem functions they provide."

The article details the number of ways in which seagrass conservation would be benefit people and planet as seagrass meadows play a vital role in a number of key areas including:-
  • supporting global fisheries production
  • playing a vital role in our global carbon cycle
  • acting as important bio-filters in our coastal eco-systems
Dr Unsworth ,who published the paper with collaborators at Cardiff University, Uppsala University and James Cook University said: "There are some coral reef conservation 'bright spots' that indicate the potential for some coral reef survival. But in order for our tropical seas to continue to be able to support fisheries and people, we urgently need to focus on protecting ecosystems and biodiversity that provide the most critical ecosystem services while having the capacity to remain intact in a future climate.

"Seagrass meadows are one of those ecosystems and their conservation is paramount for the continued livelihoods and food security of many hundreds of millions of people. The time is right for global conservation efforts to conserve seagrass ecosystems."
-end-


Swansea University

Related Climate Change Articles:

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.
Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.
Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.
Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.
A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.
Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).
Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.
Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.
Could climate change cause infertility?
A number of plant and animal species could find it increasingly difficult to reproduce if climate change worsens and global temperatures become more extreme -- a stark warning highlighted by new scientific research.
Predicting climate change
Thomas Crowther, ETH Zurich identifies long-disappeared forests available for restoration across the world.
More Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.