About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

2500-Year Long Panama Coral Reef Collapse Triggered by La Nina-Like Conditions

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on February 24, 2015 at 7:30 PM
Font : A-A+

 2500-Year Long Panama Coral Reef Collapse Triggered by La Nina-Like Conditions

La Nina-Like conditions in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Panama were closely associated with 2,500-year-long abrupt shutdown in coral reef growth, reveals a new study.

The research at Georgia Institute of Technology found cooler sea temperatures, greater precipitation and stronger upwelling, all indicators of La Nina-like conditions at the study site in Panama, during a period when coral reef accretion stopped in this region around 4,100 years ago.


Kim Cobb said that investigating the long-term history of reefs and their geochemistry is something that is difficult to do in many places, so this was a unique opportunity to look at the relationship between reef growth and environment. This study shows that there appears to have been environmental triggers for this well-documented reef collapse in Panama.

The new study provides data to assist scientists in understanding how changes in the environment trigger long-term changes in coral reef growth and ecosystem function, which is a critical challenge to coral-reef conservation.

Lead author Lauren Toth said that temperature was a key cause of reef collapse and modern temperatures are now within several degrees of the maximum these reefs experienced over their 6,750 year history and it's possible that anthropogenic climate change may once again be pushing these reefs towards another regional collapse.

Cobb added that they saw evidence for a different climate regime during that time period and the geochemical signals were consistent with a period that is very cool and very wet, with very strong upwelling, which is more like a modern day La Nina event in this part of the Pacific.

Cobb noted that these conditions would have been for quite an extended time, which suggests that the reef was quite sensitive to prolonged change in environmental conditions, so sensitive that it stopped accreting over that period.

Toth added that a broad-scale perspective on long-term reef growth and environmental variability would allow us to better characterize the environmental thresholds leading to reef collapse and the conditions that facilitate survival and a better understanding of the controls on reef development in the past will allow them to make better predictions about which reefs may be most vulnerable to climate change in the future.

The study appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Ways to Manage Stress during COVID-19 Pandemic
Can Adjusting Fatty Acid Intake Improve Mood in Bipolar Disorder Patients?
Insulin Resistance Doubles the Risk of Major Depressive Disorder
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Drugs from Corals 

Recommended Reading
Desalination - A Solution to Water Needs
Desalination is a viable solution to the drinking water shortage the world over. India has taken a ....
Traffic Related Air Pollution Causes Autism in Infants
Autism is characterized by developmental disturbances in social interaction, behavior and language. ...
Coral Reefs Packed With New Anti-HIV Proteins
A new class of proteins adapted for use in gels or sexual lubricants to provide a potent barrier ......
Plastic Clutter in Oceans Amounts to 8 Million Tons Each Year
Ocean currents have been carrying floating debris into all five of the world's major oceanic gyres ....
Drugs from Corals
The uses of corals from coral reefs extends to the field of medicine. Molecules obtained from corals...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use