Yes, unfortunately there are loads. One of the biggest problems is animals being transported through ship ballast water. A famous example is that of the comb jelly
upsetting annihilating the food web in the Black Sea.
And perhaps the most recent and ongoing problem is the proliferation of Lionfish in the Meso-American Barrier Reef. My bestie Jen is in Belize and one of her projects is developing a supply chain to harvest these invasive lionfish to sell internationally - protecting the reefs and providing alternative incomes for local communities!
No-take marine reserves make coral reefs more resilient.
"A new study finds no-take marine reserves, where fishing for parrotfish is prohibited, may make coral reefs six times more resilient to coral bleaching and other disturbances. Parrotfish eat algae, so a reef system with abundant parrotfish is more likely to recover from disturbance rather than “tip” into an undesirable state in which algae dominate. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions also improves coral resilience, but only in the long term.
"This added resilience is important because it shows that protecting parrotfish, through such measures as marine reserves and fisheries policies, increases the ability of corals to adapt to warming oceans," said Dr. Mumby, lead author of the study and a professor at University of Queensland in Australia. "In addition, it should reduce the loss of ecosystem services that reefs provide, such as support for fisheries and coastal protection from storms."
- Get the fact sheet
Algal growth over dead coral prevents coral recruits from settling and re-establishing the coral reef. Algae ecosystems support less diversity of life. This year is predicted to be a bad year in the Asia-Pacific for Coral Bleaching so keep an eye out!
Image by Jonathan Franks, University of Pittsburgh.
The freshwater red alga, Caloglossa, seen through polarized light.
A live desmid, a type of green algae found almost exclusively in fresh water, at 80x magnification. 5th place in the 1991 Nikon Small World Competition.
Plankton blooming off the Falkland Islands creates bright blue swirls in the Atlantic.
Phytoplankton, you damn fine.
Thanks for making most of the world’s oxygen and being the basis of the marine food web. That’s very kind of you.
Phytoplankton never looked so sparkly. These diatoms, or single-celled algae species, glitter under the microscope like tiny jewels. Diatoms form the basis of many a marine food chain, and they’re protected by cell walls made of silica, seen here. When diatoms die, their cell walls form diatomaceous earth, a sediment used in pool filters and some kitty litter. Researchers use diatom deposits as one way to understand the conditions of ancient lakes and bogs.
Parrotfish are named for their dentition, which also is distinct from that of other labrids. Their numerous teeth are arranged in a tightly-packed mosaic on the external surface of the jaw bones, forming a parrot-like beak with which they rasp algae from coral and other rocky substrates (which contributes to the process of bioerosion).
Although they are considered to be herbivores, parrotfish eat a wide variety of reef organisms, and they are not necessarily vegetarian. Species such as the green humphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) include coral (polyps) in their diet.
Their feeding activity is important for the production and distribution of coral sands in the reef biome, and can prevent algae from choking coral. The teeth grow continuously, replacing material worn away by feeding.
One parrotfish can produce 90 kg of sand each year!!!
Toxic Seaweed Poisons Coral Reefs on Contact - By Daniel Strain, ScienceNOW
“Attack of the killer seaweed” may sound like a cheesy horror flick, but for many coral species, murderous multicellular algae have become real-life villains. A new study of reefs in the South Pacific suggests that some algae can poison coral on contact. This chemical warfare may be increasing the pressure on struggling reef communities worldwide, researchers say.
Along the reefs dotting Fiji, overfishing has pitted corals against algae in a battle royale. On swaths of coastline where fishing is restricted, corals such as the tall and branching Acropora millepora rule, says study co-author Mark Hay, a marine ecologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
But where Fijians spear lots of herbivores such as bird-beaked parrotfish, few fish remain to prune back the region’s seaweeds, a blanket term for many types of big algae. These algae then creep in, extending their tendrils over close to 60 percent of the ocean bottom, Hay estimates, and turning waters a sludgy green. Such “seaweed-covered parking lots” aren’t unique to Fiji, either, he says.