NOAA Report Finds Half of U.S. Corals Are in Poor or Fair Condition
Image from Wikimedia
There really is no respite for our battered coral reefs. As much as I'd like to say that there has been some good news on this front, the latest headlines have been growing bleaker by the week. Now a new report released by NOAA, hardly your alarmist types, has revealed that close to half of all U.S. coral reefs are in "poor" or "fair" condition -- a direct result of anthropogenic activities such as coastal development and overfishing and climate-influenced effects such as ocean acidification.
The 15-chapter analysis was authored by over 270 scientists and managers who graded coral ecosystems from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau and other places on a 5-tier scale -- excellent, good, fair, poor or unknown. Image from WikimediaA grim mood at the 11th International Coral Reef SymposiumInter Press Service's Stephen Leahy, reporting from the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium at which the analysis was unveiled, quoted several prominent scientists who described the situation as being "serious to the point of desperation" and who urged governments to take strong and immediate action.
Image from ScienceBlame it on ocean acidificationThe problem on most of their minds? Ocean acidification. It was only 4 years ago that overfishing was considered the prime culprit in the corals' long-term decline. A recent Science study found that emission targets would need to be overhauled in order to compensate for the impact of ocean acidification, which could wipe out most marine life over the next few centuries. New models will need to take the ocean's changing chemistry into consideration in order to develop targets that adequately tackle both climate change and acidification.
Corals and the impacts of ocean acidification::The Value of Coral Reefs: Saving Nemo and the Economy::Increasing Ocean Acidification Eroding Coral Reefs::Coral Reef + Cruise Ship= Conservation?