Date: November 22, 2016
Source: Leiden, Universiteit
Coral reefs throughout the world are under threat. After studying the reefs in Malaysia, Zarinah Waheed concluded that there is room for improvement in coral reef conservation.
One-third of the corals of the Great Barrier Reef are dead. This was the sombre conclusion drawn by Australian scientists six months ago. Pollution, shipping and climate change are destroying the world's largest continuous reef, and other coral reefs seem to be facing the same fate.
PhD candidate Zarinah Waheed studied coral reefs in her home country Malaysia over recent years. She looked specifically at the coral diversity of these reefs and also at the connectivity between the reef locations. She found that the areas with the highest numbers of coral species are not necessarily protected.
During her research, Waheed examined how many species of three coral families -- Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae -- occur in different reefs spread throughout Malaysia. She made a number of diving trips in the region, together with her co-supervisor and coral expert Dr Bert W. Hoeksema of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. Before the diving trips, she first examined all specimens of the target species in the extensive coral collection held by Naturalis.