If coral reefs do not grow, they fall.
A dark statement is in the midst of efforts to help Maui County reef systems survive the effects of climate change, such as bleaching, which is predicted to worsen in the coming decades. Watching coral reefs as sea-dwelling homes – and what will happen if they no longer exist – is one way of understanding the extent of impact that scientists, as well as residents and visitors of Hawaii, are waiting for in the event of coral death.
"The corals, when they are healthy, grow and create complex habitats," said Russell Sparks, a water biologist for the Department of Water Resources of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. "These habitats are critical to fish and other critical animals. When the corals die or become stressed, these structured habitats begin to erode in flat, unglazed areas that will not support the same amount of marine life. At the ridge, if the corals do not grow, then they erode. "
Sparks from Maui is among the local experts working to combat the death of coral reefs. His division has helped a recent survey of over 22,000 coral colonies in 51st place along the southern and western coast of Maui.
The report released last month showed that five of the most endangered (defined as the ability of reefs to resist or recover from climate change) are found in reefs or near marine managed areas. Five of them are Molokini and Honolua Preservation District, Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area, Ahihi China's Natural Reserve Area and Ridge Offshore US Fish & Wildlife Refuge at Kealia.
The least resistant reefs were the dubomorate of Puamana and the shallow water of Awalua near the Olowalu waste disposal site.
Research Nature Conservancy, with the support of the DLNR Water Resources Department, the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic Management Authority, sought to identify sites that are most and least resistant to climate change to help maintain Maui's efforts. The findings are also intended to inform the state Marine Initiative 30 × 30, about the obligation to manage 30 percent of groundwater by 2030.
The study suggests that with proper management, coral reefs can build resilience and increase survival skills – all good news, right?
"Not really that good news," Sparks said. – It's all about the best ridge on the local level. All this is relevant to our best ridge. If everyone fights, it only shows who are better than the others.
Sparks focuses on a larger picture of coral reefs in Maui and Hawaii, which remain under pressure from massive 2014 and 2015 bleaching events that have eliminated up to 90 percent of coral coral reefs, according to The Nature Conservancy.
The NOAA 2018 status report on Hawaiian coral reefs assessed the area of Maui Nui as "just," moderate assessment, with corals, algae, fish and climatic conditions listed in "Reduced" which is one level above the lowest "critically" achieve.
Resistance is also not the same as coral health, but the system gives a chance to fight, said Sparks. In reducing stress on coral reefs, reefs can hope to sustain future climate change, recover and reproduce, said Sparks.
The scientist has said that NOAA issues watches and alerts for whitening events. By 2030 bleaching can occur every four years. By 2040 the frequency will become much more frequent, he said.
"If corals are gained year after year, then it will be difficult to recover," He said. "If other stressors are reduced, we hope to survive and expand to other areas."
Research of Nature Conservancy that shows resistance in some state areas is a blend of good and bad news.
"These are both things," said Emily Fielding, director of maritime programs for TNC-Maui. "The managed areas are doing better, but we are still facing many problems."
Maui's southern and western reefs experience a combination of man-managed threats, including sediments, nutrients, and high fishing pressure.
Threats such as over-fishing and land-based pollution sources can be managed locally, while coral reefs have also benefited from reducing greenhouse gas emissions that encourage climate change and acidification of the ocean. Excessive fishing reduces vital species of fish that help coral reefs grow and endanger the delicate ecological balance of the reefs.
Land-based sources of pollution along the Maui coastline originate from coastal development and rainwater that are transferred to leakproof areas. Pollution forms include sedimentation, which stifles coral and enrichment with nutrients, leading to excessive growth of seaweed and the introduction of toxins and disease into the system.
If these threats are alleviated, coral reefs have a better chance of survival when future bleaching occurs, said Sparks.
If we want to get out and manage certain areas, we want to choose the ones that are the most straightforward," He said. "If these climatic changes come to pass, at least we can survive these places. "
The state intends to manage 30 percent of its groundwater by 2030. According to TNC data, only 3.4 percent of the coast is currently managed.
Rescue of the submarine ecosystem of Maui and Hawaii requires access to all-sail, Fielding said. It encouraged residents to support state-owned seas, join community groups such as the Napili Bay and the Beach Foundation, the Honolua Coalition, the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, and Hui O Wai Ka Ola, and learn about influences such as transhipment and human pollution. Only in a joint work can be preserved the unique and delicate marine life of Hawaii.
"The Hawaii are the safest archipelago in the world, resulting in ecosystems of coral reefs with a quarter of their lives nowhere else." "NOAA said. "That means Hawaii have a high rate of endemism. The coral and fish here make up a sea set that uniquely differs from those found elsewhere.
* My Cerise Ceremon is available at [email protected]