[Coral-List] Reefs and climate

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Thu Jul 10 14:31:24 EDT 2014

There is a lot of confusion out there.

*Climate Change Wrongly Blamed For Reef Death In The Caribbean*
The Times, 3 July 2014 

Ben Webster

Action to save coral reefs in the Caribbean has been delayed by the 
misapprehension that climate change is the primary cause of their 
decline, a leading scientist said.

The main reasons why the area covered by live coral has more than halved 
since the 1970s are overfishing and coastal pollution, according to Carl 
Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine programme at the 
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Mr Lundin helped oversee an analysis by 90 experts of 35,000 surveys of 
Caribbean reefs over the past 40 years. Their report, published 
yesterday, concluded that climate change had wrongly been blamed for a 
problem that had largely been caused by local factors which could have 
been controlled by better regulation.

The report says: "Climate change has long been thought to be the main 
culprit in coral degradation. While it does pose a serious threat by 
making oceans more acidic and causing bleaching, the report shows that 
the loss of parrotfish and sea urchins --- the area's two main grazers 
--- has, in fact, been the key driver of coral decline in the region."

The report, by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network 
the IUCN and the United Nations Environment Programme, says that the 
remaining reefs could disappear in the next 20 years unless action is 
taken to protect parrotfish, which eat the algae that smothers reefs.


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
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E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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