Contrary to expectations, a microscopic plant that lives in oceans around the world may thrive in the changing ocean conditions of the coming decades, a team of scientists reported Thursday.

Coral Flourishing At Bikini Atoll Atomic Test Site AUSTRALIA: April 16, 2008 CANBERRA - Coral is again flourishing in the crater left by the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States, 54 years after the blast on Bikini Atoll, marine scientists said on Tuesday.

The relationship between natural variations in coral species diversity, reef development and ecosystem function on coral reefs is poorly understood. Recent coral diversity varies 10-fold among geographic regions, but rates of poor growth are broadly similar, suggesting that diversity is unimportant for reef development.

A parliamentary panel has asked the Environment and Forests Ministry to sensitise villagers to man-animal co-existence and also involve them in wildlife conservation.

A beautiful black, white and yellow butterflyfish, much admired by eco-tourists, divers and aquarium keepers alike, may be at risk of extinction, scientists have warned. The case of the Chevroned Butterflyfish is a stark example of how human pressure on the world's coral reefs is confronting certain species with '

Human activities are affecting every square mile of the world's oceans, according to a study by a team of American, British and Canadian researchers who mapped the severity of the effects from pole to pole. The analysis of 17 global data sets, led by Benjamin S. Halpern of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, Calif., illustrates the extent to which humans are reshaping the seas through overfishing, air pollution and commercial shipping. The study, published in the journal Science, examines the impacts on nearly two dozen marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and continental shelves. "For the first time we can see where some of the most threatened marine ecosystems are and what might be degrading them,' said Elizabeth Selig, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a co-author, in a statement. "This information enables us to tailor strategies and set priorities for ecosystem management. And it shows that while local efforts are important, we also need to be thinking about global solutions.' The team of scientists analysed factors, including warming ocean temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient runoff and fishing. They found that the areas under the most stress included are "the North and Norwegian seas, South and East China seas, Eastern Caribbean, North American eastern seaboard, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Bering Sea, and the waters around Sri Lanka.' Some marine ecosystems are under acute pressure, the scientists concluded, including sea mounts, mangrove swamps, seagrass and coral reefs. Almost half of all coral reefs, they wrote, "experience medium high to very high impact' from humans. Overall, rising ocean temperatures represent the biggest threat to marine ecosystems.

Climate change is presenting a further and wide-ranging challenge with new and emerging threats to the sustainability and productivity of a key economic and environmental resource. This report attempts to focus the numerous impacts on the marine environment in order to assess how multiple stresses including climate change might shape the marine world over the coming years and decades.

Aerial extent and distribution pattern of seagrass meadows in the Mandapam group of islands viz. Pamban area of Rameshwaram, Krusadai, Pullivasal and Pumarichan Island of the Gulf of Mannar

Sea cucumbers are tube-shaped marine animals belonging to the echinoderm group, which includes starfish. They are commonly found moving slowly along the sea floor in shallows like tide pools and coral reefs. They feed on algae and plankton, and are in turn prized in certain east Asian cuisines.

The coral reefs of the world, on which the news focus section of this issue of Science concentrates, are important for all sorts of reasons. For many, exploration by diving provides a unique connection with a fascinating natural ecosystem. For scientists, including climate scientists, the health of reefs provides insight into the physical and biological welfare of the oceans as a whole.

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