Australian Institute of Marine Science

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is a tropical marine research agency located in Townsville. We occasionally help the Institute communicate its work.

On June 26 we helped AIMS announce a paper they collaborated on, published in Science: corals have the genes to adapt to warmer oceans. Press kit below. For more, contact Niall on 0417-131-977 or niall@scienceinpublic.com.au

When reefs decline, parrotfish thrive

Researchers find familiar species pave the way for coral regrowth

Parrotfish numbers rise as reef quality decreases.
Credit: Kendall Clements

In contrast to most other species, reef-dwelling parrotfish populations boom in the wake of severe coral bleaching.

The surprise finding came when researchers led by Perth-based Dr Brett Taylor of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) looked at fish populations in severely bleached areas of two reefs – the Great Barrier Reef in the western Pacific and the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

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Corals already have the genes to adapt to warmer oceans

Townsville and Texas researchers discover a genetic basis to temperature tolerance in coral. And it likely depends on ‘mum’s genes’.

Media resources:

A team of Australian and US scientists have discovered that corals already have the genes to tolerate global warming. It may only be a matter of shuffling them to where they are most needed.

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Corals already have the genes to adapt to warmer oceans – images

Please click on an image to access the high resolution version.

Far Nothern GBR_by LK Bay

Far Northern Great Barrier Reef. Reefs around the world are threatened by climate change. A new study shows that some corals have the genes to adapt to warmer oceans. Credit: Line K Bay, AIMS

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University of Texas at Austin release

UT Austin logo

 

Corals are already adapting to global warming, scientists say

AUSTIN, Texas — Some coral populations already have genetic variants necessary to tolerate warm ocean waters, and humans can help to spread these genes, a team of scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Oregon State University have found. The discovery has implications for many reefs now threatened by global warming and shows for the first time that mixing and matching corals from different latitudes may boost reef survival.

The findings were published this week in the journal Science.

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Twice the coral trout in Great Barrier Reef protected zones

Media resources:

Coral trout in protected ‘green zones’ are not only bigger and more abundant than those in fished ‘blue zones’ of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but they are also better able to cope with cyclone damage, according to a long-term study published today in Current Biology.

Coral trout biomass has more than doubled since the 1980s in the green zones with most of the growth occurring since the 2004 rezoning. These and other changes identified by the study show that the green zones are contributing to the health of the Great Barrier Reef and that similar approaches may be beneficial for coral reefs around the world. [continue reading…]

Coral chemicals protect against warming oceans

EMBARGO LIFTED: 4am AEDT, Thursday 24 October 2013

Nature paper reveals coral animals produce the ‘smell of the ocean’ – influencing cloud formation and protecting themselves against rising seawater temperatures. 

Australian marine scientists have found the first evidence that coral itself may play an important role in regulating local climate.

They have discovered that the coral animal—not just its algal symbiont—makes an important sulphur-based molecule with properties to assist it in many ways, ranging from cellular protection in times of heat stress to local climate cooling by encouraging clouds to form.

These findings have been published in the prestigious weekly science journal Nature.

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$37 million Sea Simulator opens in Townsville

Media release from Senator the Hon Kim Carr and Senator the Hon Jan McLucas.

A new, $37 million experimental sea simulator will enable Australian scientists to recreate ocean conditions and study how both human activities and natural events will affect our marine environment in the future.

Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator Kim Carr and Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas opened the National Sea Simulator (SeaSim), at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville today.

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Modelling Darwin Harbour’s extreme tides

$5.6 million upgrade to Arafura Timor Research Facility

Launched by Federal Science and Research Minister Don Farrell

Media call 9.30 am, Friday 24 May 2013, 23 Ellengowan Drive, Brinkin

Darwin Harbour has extreme tidal rises and falls of up to eight-metres. So the ebbing and flowing currents in the channels are strong and fast, all of which makes it difficult for pilots to berth bulk carriers or manoeuvre dredges. [continue reading…]

Remote reefs can be tougher than they look

Scott Reef had largely recovered from a catastrophic mass bleaching of corals within twelve years of the disturbance, despite the lack of connectivity to other reefs in the region. The rate of recovery was attributed to the lack of many local anthropogenic pressures affecting reefs around the world, such as degraded water quality and overfishing of herbivores (credit: N Thake).

WA’s Scott Reef has recovered from mass bleaching in 1998

Isolated coral reefs can recover from catastrophic damage as effectively as those with nearby undisturbed neighbours, a long-term study by marine biologists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) has shown.

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