6/09/2007

Caribbean‘s reef-building coral at risk

By DANICA COTO,
Associated Press Writer

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Six species of reef-building coral could vanish from the Caribbean due to rising temperatures and toxic runoff from islands` development, according to a study released Thursday.

The species — about 10 percent of the 62 varieties capable of forming reefs in the region — include staghorn and elkhorn corals, which were once among the most prominent.

Peter Edmunds, a biology professor at California State University-Northridge, said the study provided a broad perspective that is "terribly important" but does not indicate how close a particular species is to dying off in the region.

Researchers have blamed rising temperature, disease and pollutants for damage to the coral reefs, which host countless marine plants and animals.

The team also reported significant damage to mangroves, which filter pollutants, reporting the plants cover 42 percent less area in the Caribbean than they did 25 years ago.

The study was sponsored by the Caribbean Biodiversity Initiative, along with the nonprofit World Conservation Union in Switzerland and the Royal Caribbean Cruises` Ocean Fund.

1 comment:

Caribbean Katie said...

Has there been any sort of research concerning the impact this would have on the tourism? Protecting natural resources is important, as it is such a big part of that industry...