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Acroporid corals migrating pole-ward along Australian coast

By Shane Graber - Posted Jul 02, 2012 11:00 AM
As global temperatures rise, tropical species are migrating pole-ward. Numerous species of fish are reported further pole-ward in both Australia and Japan as they are now able to survive over winter there. Now, Acroporid species are found further than reported before.
Acroporid corals migrating pole-ward along Australian coast

Photo by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble / Flickr.

Corals moving pole-ward
Corals moving pole-ward

Coral Reefs is reporting on this scientific first finding just off the coast of Australia.

In their paper "Pole-ward range expansion of Acropora spp. along the east coast of Australia" researchers Baird, Sommer and Madin report observing this expansion. In their report, Baird's group observed four Acroporid corals further pole-ward than found before along the eastern Australian coast: Acropora intermedia (a), A. microclados (b), A. monticulosa (c) and A. gemmifera.

The specimens that the group found are easily recognizable and all of the colonies found were large. The size of the colonies would make missing them highly unlikely in the survey that took place in 1994, 18 years prior.

According to the research group, the average water temperature in this area has increased by 0.5 °C since 1975, which could indicate that the corals are now able to survive in these areas especially given the colony sizes found in this survey.

This finding could indicate that corals are migrating pole-ward in response to climate change.

Author: Shane Graber
Location: Indiana

Shane has kept saltwater tanks for the last 12 years, is a research scientist, lives in northern Indiana, and is a proud Advanced Aquarist staffer.


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