Lord Howe coral recovery studied

A coral reef community in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park.
A coral reef community in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park. SCU

THE ability of coral to recover from a significant bleaching event is the subject of an ongoing research project at the world's most southerly coral reef at Lord Howe Island.

With support from the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the Lord Howe Island (LHI) Marine Park Authority, a team of coral experts from Southern Cross University, Geoscience Australia and University of Western Sydney will return to the island this September to document coral recovery following a significant bleaching event in the summer of 2010.

The coral-bleaching resulted in a decline in hard coral cover of many dominant corals species at the world's most southerly coral reef.

These corals were further exposed to higher than normal ocean temperatures in 2011, which caused further coral stress, but normal seawater temperatures this summer provided the opportunity for stressed coral to recover.

According the Ian Kerr, manager of the LHI Marine Park, normal colouration has returned to most corals following these successive bleaching events.

"With normal ocean temperature, good cloud cover and adequate water mixing throughout the LHI lagoon this summer, little to no corals showed any signs of bleaching stress this year and there appears to be higher than normal coral growth and recovery," Mr Kerr said.

Dr Steve Dalton, from Southern Cross University's National Marine Science Centre, said information collected during the trip would help to predict the level of reef stability and the level of resilience and resistance in marginal coral reefs to combat future predicted more frequent thermal stress.

"This funding and field support from the authorities will enable us to determine the ability of bleached coral species to shift to microalgae that are tolerant to higher ocean temperatures," he said.

Genetic information from coral samples collected during and following the two successive bleaching events will be studied in Dr Madeleine van Oppen's laboratory at the Australian Institute of Marine Science to understand coral mechanisms to combat ocean warming in the future.

The team will also assess the influence freshwater discharge has on coral recovery following bleaching and make recommendations to reduce local stressors.


Media contact: Brigid Veale, Southern Cross University, head of Communications and Publications, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.

Topics:  geoscience australia lord howe island northern rivers catchment management authority southern cross university

Further social media reports of shark sightings

A young surfer had a lucky escape after being hit by a shark at Broken Head near Byron Bay. Photo: Twitter - Geoffrey John Knapp.

Man describes the shark incident this morning

Go Fund Me for Amanda Nash to continue to receive donations

A photo of Amanda Nash and her daughter, Bonnie, posted on the GoFundMe fundraising page.

MORE than $68,000 raised for family of woman killed in crash

WATCH: Your North Coast National experiences

Stocking up on show bags (left to right): Tyler Elford, 4; Samantha Elford; Mason Elford, 2; Paige Jackson, 5; Aiden Jackson, 3.

You told us what you liked about the North Coast National

Local Partners

Taylor Swift files lawsuit over alleged groping

Taylor Swift source Bang

Swift has commenced legal action against a DJ over the incident

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Federal grant keeps NORPA telling our local stories

ANNOUNCEMENT: NORPA's Producer Marisa Snow, Artistic Director Julian Louis, General Manager Patrick Healy, Chair David Wolff, with Member for Page Kevin Hogan.

Arts company granted almost $400,00 over two years

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track