Marinero de Agua Dulce

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SHARK PROMOTE REEF HEALTH
Australian Institute of Marine Science

Sharks could help coral reefs recover, new research has revealed. A long-term study off Australia’s northwest coast found that when shark numbers are decreased due to fishing, the food chain is disturbed and there’s a decline in fish species crucial to promoting reef health, such as parrotfish.
The study comes at an opportune time in the life of coral reefs, which are facing a number of pressures both from direct human-activity, such as over-fishing, and from climate change, as explained by lead author, Dr Jonathan Ruppert, of the University of Toronto.

According to Dr Ruppert: “The reefs we studied are about 300 kilometres off the coast of northwest Australia and the only human impacts are Indonesian fishers who primarily target sharks, a practice stretching back several centuries, which continues under an Australian-Indonesian memorandum of understanding. These reefs provided us with a unique opportunity to isolate the impact of over-fishing of sharks on reef resilience, and assess that impact in the broader context of climate change pressures threatening coral reefs.”

Image: Narchuk /Shuttertock
via: Science Alert
Reference (Open Access): Ruppert JLW, Travers MJ, Smith LL, Fortin M-J, Meekan MG (2013) Caught in the Middle: Combined Impacts of Shark Removal and Coral Loss on the Fish Communities of Coral Reefs. PLoS ONE

SHARK PROMOTE REEF HEALTH

Australian Institute of Marine Science

Sharks could help coral reefs recover, new research has revealed. A long-term study off Australia’s northwest coast found that when shark numbers are decreased due to fishing, the food chain is disturbed and there’s a decline in fish species crucial to promoting reef health, such as parrotfish.

The study comes at an opportune time in the life of coral reefs, which are facing a number of pressures both from direct human-activity, such as over-fishing, and from climate change, as explained by lead author, Dr Jonathan Ruppert, of the University of Toronto.

According to Dr Ruppert: “The reefs we studied are about 300 kilometres off the coast of northwest Australia and the only human impacts are Indonesian fishers who primarily target sharks, a practice stretching back several centuries, which continues under an Australian-Indonesian memorandum of understanding. These reefs provided us with a unique opportunity to isolate the impact of over-fishing of sharks on reef resilience, and assess that impact in the broader context of climate change pressures threatening coral reefs.”