Nearly dead coral, photo: Jun Acullador
Sobering news on a Friday morning: Worldwatch Institute is pointing out how global coral reef losses—19% of coral reefs in the world are dead, mostly the result of warming sea-surface temperatures and water acidification—is really a sign pointing towards a coming global extinction event.
And unlike the five previous waves of extinction that this planet has seen, this one is caused by humans. Oh, and did I mention that this one is likely to happen in decades rather than centuries, with a quarter of the world’s species wiped out by 2050? Read on:Global Warming, Other Human Impacts Prime Cause of Reef Decline
The last part of the that statement comes from a study earlier this year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The part about coral comes from a recent report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network , which predicts that many of the world’s reefs may disappear within the next 40 years.
In addition to the previous mentioned threats of rising water temperature and acidity (the result of global warming...), other threats include overfishing, pollution and invasive species.
Since 25% of all marine species live in coral reefs, and some 500 million humans depend on coral reefs for their livelihoods, there are deep repercussions here.
The good news, according to the report and if you can really call it such, is that 45% of the world’s reefs are healthy. This indicates that at least some species may be able to survive the climate changes caused by global warming.
via: Worldwatch Institute
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