Recent surveys of the world’s most embattled coral reefs have allowed researchers to discover a number of ‘bright spots’.
During one of the biggest global researches of its type, scientists have studied over 6,000 coral reefs located in 46 different countries. The study has allowed them to discover as many as 15 ‘bright spots’ or places with significantly denser fish population than what’s expected.
Josh Cinner, the study’s lead author and a professor at the James Cook University’s ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said that this finding is special primarily due to the immense depletion of coral reef fisheries around the globe have experienced in recent times. Cinner added that the situation at the bright spots identified by him and his team is much better than what they expected.
Bright spots are places housing more fish than what they should based on exposure to factors like poverty, adverse environmental conditions and human population. University of Washington’s Edward Allison, who represents the environmental and marine affairs department of the university, contributed to the above mentioned study by providing information on ways of identifying coral reefs which showcase better ecological performance than what’s expected from them when under various local and global pressures.
According to Allison, identifying the bright spots would allow scientists to discover the factors responsible for making those areas conducive for the fish population. This will help them to find out ways of conserving or restoring other reefs.
Similar methods are used for betterment of human healthcare, but this is the first time such a study has been conducted for conservation of life in coral reefs. The study has been published recently in the journal Nature.
Everything is not bright about the findings of the study. The scientists have also discovered as many as 35 ‘dark spots’. The term ‘dark pot’ is used for reefs where the fish stocks are at their worse. The regions that have maximum number of dark spots are Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, some areas of Indonesia and the Solomon Islands. Scientists have revealed that the dark spots are present all over the globe and almost all major ocean basins have them.
Christiana Hicks, one of the coauthors of the study, said that a large number of the bright spots are in such good shape due to external factors such as conventional management practices, ownership rights and how diligently the reefs are managed.