Saturday, September 17, 2016

Wave Dynamics Affects The Health Of Coral Reefs

World’s Oceans

Palmyra Atoll:  A black tip shark swims above a shallow reef of primarily dead coral skeletons at Palmyra Atoll, an unoccupied territory (except by scientists temporarily) of 2-square-kilometres (4.6 sq mi) in the equatorial North Pacific, lying about 1,000 miles due south of Hawaii and approximately half way between the Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa. Research conducted by Stanford scientists at this atoll, and subsequently published in Limnology and Oceanography, offers some new insight into how climate change can affect reefs. The research considers the question of why some coral reefs do better than others. It depends on wave mechanics and flow, which can actually lower the water temperature locally, allowing such coral reefs to thrive.  An article, by Elizabeth Svoboda, in says: “The reefs that did best over time – those showing the highest level of live coral cover – were the ones that received an ample flow of cooler water from the ocean further offshore. The team found that both waves and tides in nearby waters drive the flow rate around these high-performing reefs, with waves being the most significant factor.”
Photo Credit: Brian Zgliczynski

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