Vast swathes of coral reefs across the globe are destroyed by both the natural calamities and human activities. However, a new research study highlights that the coral reef destruction was not uniform.
Dr. James Guest says, “There are a number of reasons why one coral reef might survive while its neighbor dies. It could be that the location is better for survival – deeper water that is outside the storm tracks, for example.” Dr. James Guest is a coral reef researcher at the Newcastle University. He led the research study from the front.
It is believed that these corals might be possessing specific biological characteristics. It is due to these characteristics that impart resistance to these corals against damage. Alternately, these biological characteristics might help the coral reef to regenerate themselves after the loss.
Dr. Guest further adds, “Identifying cases in which individuals or communities perform better than their neighbors, despite being at equal risk, is common in public health and medical fields and using a similar approach in ecology can help us to identify areas that can be prioritized for conservation.” These research findings mark their presence in the Journal of Applied Ecology. The Journal of Applied Ecology homes to about dozens of such cases majorly from the tropical regions across the globe.
Professor Edmund and his research team began their research on the island of Moorea in the year 2005. Soon after the team initiated their study, the stretch of local coral reefs was destroyed by crown-of-thorns of starfish. These starfish were the sole destroyers of the Great Barrier Reef in the past few years.
Dr. Guest concludes, “This glimmer of hope does not mean we can be complacent about the severity of the crisis facing most of the world’s coral reefs. But it does give us a starting point from which to understand why some ecosystems might be more resistant than others and to identify areas that warrant stronger protection or specific management strategies, such as restoration or mitigation.”