1 Specie, More Than 1000 Deaths

In Brazil is happening one phenomenon very curious: 1 specie of soft coral is killing hundreds of other corals. The problem is that it species killed are species building of reefs and without them no exist a reef. The scientists not discovered yet what cause this ecology imbalance. But the studies appoint that the cause maybe be something that is thrown into the water from sewage and industrial waste. Besides the loss of biodiversity and the health of the oceans, a big direct consequence this is the decrease in fish stocks.

The question is: who is this strong coral and what made it a good competitor?

Well, it name is Palythoa cf. variabilis and it occurs in almost Brazilian coast. The first thing here is that it doesn’t have skeleton. So, it reproduction is very fast and easy. To worsen, probably something thrown on the water induces it assexuad reproduction named sprouting. Its like weeds in a garden, a grow up totally descontrolated and dangerous. Besides that, it produces one mucus very toxic that probably kills the other corals quickly.

This has been documented in science for more than 10 years in Bahia, Brazil, and biologists call this phenomenon Phase Shift. This is, when a species replaces other species or communities that are natural in the system because of an unnatural disturbance and this remains for more than 5 years.

The consequences are disastrous, because this soft coral spreads and can prejudice other reefs. The results of researches don’t let it go of academy. The society and govern don’t have know what the science is discovering.

This is the theme of  my doctorate project at Aveiro University.
I intend to make this information circulate both within and outside academia.

This all makes us think about how we are caring on the nature or not. Maybe just scientific divulgation is not enough for restore this connection lost. Maybe we need to review our habits and behaviours. Maybe…

The Nature send it signs. We have to know if we are ready to listen to them in time. I hope so!

@InsideNatGeo

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