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Coral Reefs

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grizzly
83860.  Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:03 am Reply with quote

What is the longest coral reef in the world?

If you just said the Great Barrier Reef, what were you thinking? This is GI remember.

Indeed the GBR is probably a reasonable way down the list. One reef system, for example, stretches 4,500km (2.5 times the length of the GBR) from Norway to Africa. You probably didn't notice it because it is a cold-water coral reef. They form between 100m and 1000m down in much cooler waters than their tropical cousins tht you go to see on holliday. In fact there are plenty of great coral reefs around the UK.

Quote:
There's also great concern about another major ecosystem in high latitudes: cold-water coral reefs. These corals are far less studied than their distant tropical cousins because they are found deep down in dark cold waters, typically at 100 to 1000 metres but sometimes much deeper. Only in the last dozen years or so has a picture of their true extent and astonishing nature begun to emerge.

One system stretches from Norway down to the coast of Africa. At around 4500 kilometres, it is roughly two-and-a-half times as long as Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The richness of these reefs is also astonishing. In terms of biomass production and even biodiversity, cold-water corals may be as important as warm-water corals. Over 130 species were found on one reef in the north-east Atlantic, says Murray Roberts of the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban. He stresses how poorly understood they are. "For example, we think they are very important as fish habitats, but to what extent and exactly how we really don't yet know."


Source: New Scientist, 5th August, Paradise Lost

 
captainzlog
83918.  Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:14 pm Reply with quote

Alright, I don't mind showing my ignorance...

So will those depths put them off the continental shelf, then? Coz I'm wonderning if they are in range of trawlers, which would presumably be very damaging to coral reefs.

 
Kingbarney
83929.  Sat Aug 05, 2006 6:02 pm Reply with quote

Nothing to do with the topic but captainzlog signature is the funnest thing i've ever seen lol

 
grizzly
83957.  Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:57 am Reply with quote

captainzlog wrote:
Alright, I don't mind showing my ignorance...

So will those depths put them off the continental shelf, then? Coz I'm wonderning if they are in range of trawlers, which would presumably be very damaging to coral reefs.


The start of the very next paragraph:

Quote:
Deep-water trawling is already destroying many cold-water corals, which grow far more slowly than their tropical cousins.

 
captainzlog
83982.  Sun Aug 06, 2006 5:53 am Reply with quote

I have a real problem with commercial fishing of our seas. So many fish species on the verge of extinction, or at least populations very much under threat. Collateral damage to dolphins etc. Sea beds reduced to barren wastes by beam trawlers. And now cold water coral reefs.

I know fish farming has major ecological problems, but I suspect it is the way forward, and leave the seas as the unspoilt wilderness they should be before too much damage is done.

Sad but qi - Cape Cod, named for its prolific cod fishing, now has no cod.

 
eggshaped
124668.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:59 am Reply with quote

Grizzly, sorry to bring this up so late, but as much as I love this coral reef question, it seems to be only that NS article which makes the assertion for one which stretches from Norway to Africa.

I've had a quick look, and most places on the interweb agree with the WWF:

Quote:
The largest reef yet discovered, off the coast of Norway's RÝst Island, is 40km long and 2-3 km wide.


Has anyone else got more info on this?

 
grizzly
124678.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:23 am Reply with quote

Perhaps you can give the NS a call and find out more from the guy that wrote the article?

I'll check the article for the guy who wrote it. You can ask him what the source if you can get hold of him (assuming that he works at a uni you can probably find an email address).

 
AlmondFacialBar
124680.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:27 am Reply with quote

there are substantial cold water reefs off the irish west coast and they are also gradually being destroyed by trawler fishing. thank goodness, they have now started putting serious funding into research of these reefs, so hopefully that'll change something. i agree, fish farming might unfortunately be the only way forward to save our seas. it'll be very hard to find a way of doing that that's ecologically sustainable in the long term, though.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
eggshaped
124700.  Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:25 pm Reply with quote

Thanks Grizzly. I see the author was Caspar Henderson.

He is currently writing a book about coral which will undoubtedly tell us more. For anyone wanting further reading, here is his coral-blog.

 

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