Caribbean Coral on Verge of Collapse

Ocean warming, acidification, and fishing at fault

Acropora coral

Acropora coral     Photo: Justin Casp/Flickr

Caribbean coral reefs are on the brink of collapse, according to new research from the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The study, presented at the IUCN's conference in South Korea, found that live coral coverage on reefs has declined from 50 percent to less than 10 percent over the past 40 years. Ocean warming, acidification, and overfishing are responsible for the decline, said Michael Lesser, a National Science Foundation program director, who warned that the decline of Caribbean coral could be a "road map" for healthier reefs. While Lesser said that recovery was still a possibility, he warned that it could take a a long time: "We're talking decades."

Via New York Times

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