New Report on Coral Bleaching!
jpeavey at tnc.org
Wed Nov 28 13:57:18 EST 2001
Scientists from the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund suggested
that the coral-list group might be interested in this news of a ground
breaking report being released by the two groups. The report suggests new
principals for protecting reefs and helping reefs recover from bleaching
events. I've included the press release for more information below.
Please call me at 703-841-5980 if you would like to talk to one of our
scientists or obtain any other information. A copy of the report is
available at www.conserveonline.com.
The Nature Conservancy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Kathleen Sullivan, World Wildlife Fund, 202-778-9576 or
kathleen.sullivan at wwfus.org
Jordan Peavey, The Nature Conservancy, 703-841-5980 or jpeavey at tnc.org
Marine Protected Areas Aid Coral Reefs Threatened by Global Warming
The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund Release Ground Breaking
Protecting Coral Reefs
WASHINGTON, (Nov. 28, 2001) A new report from World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
and The Nature Conservancy provides scientists, policy makers and park
managers with new science-based principles for managing protected coral
reefs, helping reefs survive and recover from coral bleaching incidents and
guiding the location and management of new marine protected areas.
Entitled Coral Bleaching and Marine Protected Areas, the report captures the
findings of the first workshop on management strategies designed to help
mitigate the impact of global warming on coral reef health in protected
When corals are exposed to stressful conditions they lose the colorful
symbiotic algae that are necessary to their continued health and survival.
This "bleaching" is often brought on by increased sea temperatures that
accompany global warming. Human-induced emissions of carbon dioxide and
other gases blanket the world and trap in heat, causing global warming.
"To save coral reefs, we need to develop better management to protect reefs
around the world and, at the same time, act to reduce the carbon dioxide
emissions that cause global warming," said Dr. Ghislaine Llewellyn, a WWF
marine conservation scientist and contributor to the report. "This report
suggests that there are practical measures we can take to help protect
In the last decade, climate change has emerged as a significant threat to
coral reefs, with large areas of reefs dying off due to coral bleaching.
Coral bleaching has been particularly severe in the Indian Ocean, where as
many as 50-95 percent of all corals died.
"Many of our coral reefs are being devastated by emerging global threats,
like climate-related bleaching, that cannot be managed on site," said Rod
Salm, the original proponent of the ideas discussed at the workshop. Salm is
director of The Nature Conservancys Asia Pacific coastal and marine program
and an editor of the report. "But some coral communities are surviving these
threats and these reefs can provide profound insight on how we can protect
these precious ecosystems. We need to examine the factors that help these
communities survive and use them as the foundations for our future coral
reef conservation action."
Coral Bleaching and Marine Protected Areas provides the basis for further
research and monitoring to refine common characteristics among coral reef
communities that survive the effects of global warming. Findings are
expected to provide further insight into effective coral reef conservation
policies and management strategies for marine protected areas.
Coral reefs are one of the most threatened marine ecosystems. At least two
thirds of the worlds reefs are considered to be deteriorating and
significant losses are predicted in the next decade. Reefs face threats from
a variety of sources ranging from the complex and wide ranging problems like
global warming to destructive localized industries such as fishing with
bombs and cyanide to mining of corals for building material, sedimentation,
pollution and coastal development.
"Coral reefs are being negatively affected by local, regional and global
influences and it is critical that we use management tools focused on
preserving coral reefs at each of these levels," said Billy Causey,
superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. "While local
and regional pollution, over-fishing and habitat destruction present major
threats to coral reefs, the global impact of coral bleaching is killing
corals at an alarming rate."
The report was released this week at a International Coral Reef Initiative
workshop in Maputo, Mozambique where international policy makers, scientists
and park managers are meeting to call on the world's leaders to be
responsible managers and to help save coral reefs. The report can also be
found online at www.conserveonline.org.
The release of the workshop report coincides with the launch of a worldwide
survey to further determine the role certain environmental factors may have
in helping coral communities resist or rapidly recover from bleaching. The
survey will be conducted through a questionnaire posted on the ReefBase Web
site (www.reefbase.org/questionaire/index.asp), is expected to take six
months, and is a contribution to the International Biodiversity Observation
Year. All coral reef researchers and managers are urged to contribute to
this global assessment and complete the questionnaire.
About Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are extremely productive ecosystems that feed a billion people
annually. An estimated two million species live in reefs; species that could
represent a natural pharmacy that holds great promise in the search for
powerful new biochemical compounds ranging from cancer fighting agents to
sunscreens. Coral reefs provide a source of food and livelihood security for
millions of coastal communities throughout the tropical developing world and
their aesthetic appeal supports a multi-billion dollar tourism and
recreational diving industry.
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a private, international, non-profit organization
established in 1951 to preserve plants, animals and natural communities that
represent the diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters
they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy and its more than 1 million
members have been responsible for the protection of more than 12 million
acres in the United States, and have helped through partnerships to preserve
more than 80 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, Asia and
the Pacific. Visit the Conservancy on the world wide web at www.nature.org
About World Wildlife Fund
World Wildlife Fund (WWF), known worldwide by its panda logo, leads
international efforts to protect the diversity of life on earth. Now in its
fourth decade, WWF works in more than 100 countries around the globe. In
Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in places as diverse as the Phillippines
Sulu Sea and the Florida Keys, WWF has been working to set up dozens of
marine protected areas to conserve precious habitats and the species they
contain. Learn more about WWF and its efforts by visiting
The Nature Conservancy
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media line: 703-841-4220
jpeavey at tnc.org
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