Coral Reefs - Less Than 10% Still Alive!

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Coral Reefs - Less Than 10% Still Alive! Empty Coral Reefs - Less Than 10% Still Alive!

Post by  on Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:52 pm

Caribbean coral reefs on verge of collapsing

Less than 10 percent of the coral
reefs in the Caribbean show living coral cover and are on the verge of
utter devastation, a new study reported in the Guardian states.

Global warming, pollution and
overexploitation are the main causes for the damage to reefs, Carl
Gustaf Lundin, a director at the International Union for Conservation of
Nature, which published the research, told the British newspaper.

"The major causes of coral
decline are well-known and include overfishing, pollution, disease and
bleaching caused by rising temperatures resulting from the burning of
fossil fuels," Lundin said. "Looking forward, there is an urgent need
to immediately and drastically reduce all human impacts if coral reefs
and the vitally important fisheries that depend on them are to survive
in the decades to come."

Scientists in the study noted
that 50 percent of the reef in the 1970s showed coral that were alive
and building more reef. The latest survey found that only 8 percent is
covered with living coral growth. The scientists also warned that there
was no evidence that coral death would be slowing.

Global warming is a big factor with coral reefs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points out, as more bleaching and infections break out when temperatures rise. Also more carbon dioxide in the air alters the chemistry of the oceans, and slight changes in acidity could alter the growth rates of coral.

However, ScienceDaily,
in reporting the work of researchers of Australia's Great Barrier
Reef, quoted Terry Hughes of James Cook University: "The good news is
that, rather than experiencing wholesale destruction, many coral reefs
will survive climate change by changing the mix of coral species as the
ocean warms and becomes more acidic."

So it may be more complicated, but Hughes theorizes different living
coral species may become more dominant and that the threat to coral
reefs is not as severe.

He did say that local factors like pollution and overfishing also need to be addressed.

The International Coral Reef
Initiative noted that damage to the colorful reefs also threatens the
livelihoods of 500 million people around the world who live and work
near reefs.

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