DEC 27, 2017 7:01 PM PST

Coral Restoration Efforts Improve Ocean's Fish Communities

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Fish of all types depend on coral reefs for survival. Not only do coral reefs provide shelter and a place to hide from predators, but they also harbor different kinds of food that many fish like to snack on.

A coral reef is very important to the ocean's fish, and restoration efforts might help these fish thrive.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Sadly, as important as the ocean’s coral reefs are to a wholesome fish community, contemporary issues like climate change and ocean pollution endanger their very existence. Bleaching and high mortality rates travel down the environmental chain underneath the ocean’s surface, influencing fish communities and more in their wake.

Related: Here's what coral looks like under the world's strongest X-ray

One way conservationists combat these issues is with coral reef restoration efforts, which involve transplanting corals grown in remote underwater nurseries to replace those that have fallen. On paper, it sounds like a stellar idea. On the other hand, there hasn’t been any hard evidence to suggest that these efforts impact the environment in positive ways; until now.

Harvard University’s Annie Opel set out to discern once and for all whether coral restoration efforts have a positive impact on ocean life. The results from the novel study are now published in the journal Marine Biology.

Opel and her team spent time studying known coral restoration effort sites and out-planting experimental coral transplant patches of their own. Within as little as one week, the team noticed a broader and more diverse fish community in and around the transplanted corals than before the efforts took place.

"Overall, it's a success story - we out-planted corals and there were more fish," Opel said while commenting on her study.

"That's really exciting, and something people took for granted in these restoration projects, but no one had quantified it before. I think it's going to be interesting for future studies to use this as a benchmark to know what's going on after transplanting corals."

Related: Scientists now understand why deep-sea corals glow in the dark

The results seem to indicate that coral restoration efforts could indeed have a positive impact on the sub-surface ecosystem in both the short-term and long-term. More importantly, the study brings some of the first hard scientific evidence to the table, underscoring the importance of these efforts and why they should continue.

Additional research concerning coral transplants could help conservationists quantify just how effective these efforts are in the real world and just how environments change over time once a coral transplant takes place.


About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 12, 2020
Diego the Giant Tortoise Returning to Wild After Saving His Species
One would witness a plethora of exotic animals upon visiting the renowned Galápagos Islands, one of which might be the Galápagos giant tortoi...
JAN 16, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 16, 2020
Sequence the Kraken! The Genome of the Giant Squid is Revealed
Giant squid, which can weigh over 900 kilograms and grow to thirteen meters, are the stuff of legend....
JAN 21, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 21, 2020
After Hibernation, These Grizzlies Turn to Clams for Nourishment
Grizzly bears spend up to seven Wintery months hibernating, and in that time, they can lose a substantial amount of their body weight. While surrounding ma...
JAN 23, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 23, 2020
Scientists Assess the Value of the Ocean's Twilight Zone
Fifteen years ago, an international cohort of scientists and policy experts introduced the idea of assessing ecosystems by the "services" they pr...
MAR 02, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 02, 2020
A Bullfrog's Extensive Diet May Surprise You
If you were to take to the streets and poll random people about what a bullfrog likes to eat, chances are most would answer with “insects.” But...
MAR 27, 2020
Health & Medicine
MAR 27, 2020
Possible Link Between Marijuana Use and Heart Health
Research presented in a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that 2.3% of reported cannabis users have...
Loading Comments...