As our oceans warm from global change,
Vibrant corals dissolve and collapse;
Reefs in the Northern Red Sea
Are sheltered from the stress.
But local events
In the end
Over the last 30 years, 50% of the world’s coral reefs have suffered significant damage due to global warming and ocean acidification. However, unlike in other parts of the world coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba (a semi-enclosed water body located at the northern end of the Red Sea) have previously been shown to be resilient to climate change and ocean acidification.
Unfortunately, this new research has demonstrated that local disturbances, such as a rise in nutrient concentrations from sewage and fish farms negatively affect these coral reefs and reduce their resilience. With the addition of excess nutrients, researchers found that the entire microbial community on the coral surface changed, and that as it did their resistance to any thermal stress brought about by warming events became much lower. Whilst it is difficult for this community to reduce the global carbon emissions that damage corals, removing local disturbance can help to ensure that these corals maintain their resilience against global stresses.
An audio version of this poem can be heard here.