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Thai Coral Reef and Climate Change


Thai Coral Reef and Climate Change

Assoc. Prof. Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mullica Jaroensutasinee, Centre of Excellence for Ecoinformatics, Walailak University, Thailand

Everybody loves to spend their vacation snorkling or diving, seeing coral reef, reef fish and other marine creature. Would it be very sad when we go diving and see lots of dead corals? Of course, we would. What can we do to prevent this to happen? How can we and our students involve in some coral conservation? It is everyone responsibility to help improve our world to be a better place to live in.

Climate change and increases in sea surface temperature (SSTs) are projected to be very likely in the coming decades. Combined with the acidifying effect of increasing dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean, there is a clear research need to understand the likely impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. You have heard this right! STT is rising, more acidic ocean we are facing.

Coral reef ecosystems are sensitive to climate changes in the physical environment. Coral bleaching caused by unusually high sea temperature has had devastating and widespread effects worldwide. Numerous physical factors reduce the incidence of coral bleaching such as low light, high flow, lower temperature and higher nutrients. The link between physical conditions and the biological responses that lead to coral bleaching allows for the prediction of when corals may bleach based on measurements of the in-situ physical parameters. Monitoring of these parameters therefore becomes an important part of understanding and responding to coral bleaching events.

GLOBE Thailand leading by Dr. Pornpun Waithayangkoon (Thailand GLOBE country coordinator and IPST President) strongly supports the Thai Coral Project. GLOBE Thailand funds five GLOBE coral student research projects per year since 2009. Dr. Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee and Dr. Mullica Jaroensutasinee are main scientists. Thai students will be using the coral protocols, some GLOBE hydrology protocols and Atmosphere protocols during their research investigation. Thai students have a chance to share their findings with SCUBAnauts International leading by Dr. Elizabeth Moses.

We developed Thailand coral protocol and the Coral Database System (CDS). The CDS provides an essential tool for querying, analysing and visualising patterns of coral data in Thailand. The CDS prototype has been available online at URL http://www.twibl.org/coraldbn/index.html. There were five study sites: (1) Racha Islands, (2) Phi Phi Island, (3) Hinpae and Ngamnoi Island, (4) Tan Island and (5) Sinmana farm. Each site contained different sensor data. Coral Database System was comprised of four types of sensor data: CTD, HOBO Pendant, weather Data, and ecocam. Users can visualize data and ecocam by selecting study sites and sensor types, time data collected and then visualizing the data. This database was designed to assist students and researchers who interested in long term monitoring of coral sensor data.

Suggested Activity: Do you have coral reefs in your area? Have you done any research connecting atmospheric and hydrological variables to coral ecosystem? Send us an email at mullica.jn@gmail.com or add a comment to let us know about your research!

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