Study suggests commercial fishing depletes key nutrients in coral reefs
2016-10-25 11:13:31   copyfrom:    hits:

UNITED STATESSaturday, October 2016Many of the ecosystems most impacted by human activities, such as tropical fores

UNITED STATES
Saturday, October  2016

 

Many of the ecosystems most impacted by human activities, such as tropical forests and coral reefs, are also among the most biodiverse in the world. But a recent study determined that conserving biodiversity may not be enough to ensure coral reefs rebound from the impacts of exploitation by mankind.

In coral reef ecosystems, fish typically constitute a substantial portion of living biomass and thus represent an important reservoir of nutrients. So it makes sense that the removal of biomass via fishing impacts the nutrient capacity of coral reefs.

And because nutrient inputs from outside reef systems are scarce, the replacement of nutrients removed by fishing occurs at a slow rate — “a dynamic that is analogous to the disruption of nutrient cycles in tropical rainforests following intensive timber harvest,” according to an article published in the journal Nature Communications in August 2016.

But it is unknown exactly how much fishing — and, in particular, the selective exploitation of certain species — impacts the fish nutrient capacity of coral reef ecosystems, the authors of the article, a team led by Jacob Allgeier of the University of Washington, Seattle’s School of Aquatic and Fisheries Science, write in the article.


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