Washington: Researchers have found that increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change will soon see reefs retaining and nurturing more of their own coral larvae, leaving large reef systems less interconnected.
The study brought together an international group of researchers from NSU`s Oceanographic Center; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the School of Marine and Tropical Biology at James Cook University in Australia; and Sesoko Station, Tropical Biosphere Research Center at the University of the Ryukyus, Japan.
"This research has potentially significant implications for understanding the future of coral reefs," Richard Dodge, Ph.D., dean of NSU`s Oceanographic Center said.
These findings have both positive and negative implications.
"We found that at higher temperatures more coral larvae will tend to stay on their birth reef," Joana Figueiredo, Ph.D., who is with NSU`s Oceanographic Center but was with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University when the study began, said.
"This is good news in an otherwise cloudy picture for isolated reefs, because in the future they will be able to retain more of their own larvae and recover faster from severe storms or bleaching events," she said.
Sean Connolly, Ph.D., also from the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, explained that while more coral larvae will stay close to their parents, fewer will disperse longer distances, leaving reefs less connected.
The study is published by Nature Climate Change.