Thursday, 1 November 2007


I have to put these Times and BBC pages on today’s Blog
The paper on which they are based was jointly authored by my daughter!
In summary -
A vividly coloured fish could be the key to saving the Caribbean's coral reefs from plummeting into terminal decline, scientists claim. Their research forecasts that reefs risk being damaged beyond repair by the influx of seaweed. But urgent action such as protecting parrotfish, which graze upon the floral invaders, may prevent the ecosystems from reaching this tipping point. The research is published in the journal Nature.
Professor Mumby and colleagues used computer simulations to predict whether reefs could bounce back once the seaweed had taken hold, especially if some of the pressures upon them were removed.
One simple measure to prevent reefs from becoming damaged beyond repair, he said, would be to protect parrotfish that live around the reef.
"Parrotfish cruise around, grazing away much of the seaweed. They play a very important role in the ecosystem," the researcher explained. However, these tropical fish are under threat. They are a sought-after delicacy in many parts of the Caribbean and are susceptible to becoming caught in fish traps. Professor Mumby said: "We need to manage them as a fishery and maintain large numbers of these fish. The ability of a reef to recover is much more difficult if you remove parrotfish."

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