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Caribbean Coral Suffers Record Death
A one-two punch of bleaching from record hot water followed by disease has killed ancient and delicate coral in the biggest loss of reefs scientists have ever seen in Caribbean waters.
Researchers from around the globe are scrambling to figure out the extent of the loss. Early conservative estimates from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands find that about one-third of the coral in official monitoring sites has recently died.
"It's an unprecedented die-off," said National Park Service fisheries biologist Jeff Miller, who last week checked 40 stations in the Virgin Islands. "The mortality that we're seeing now is of the extremely slow-growing reef-building corals. These are corals that are the foundation of the reef ... We're talking colonies that were here when Columbus came by have died in the past three to four months."
Research in Pacific shows ocean trouble Acidity rises, oxygen drops, scientists find
Research fresh off a boat that docked Thursday in Alaska reveals some frightening changes taking place in the Pacific Ocean.
As humans are pumping out more carbon dioxide that is helping to warm the planet, the ocean has been doing yeoman's work to lessen the effects -- but it's taking a toll.
Over time, the changes could have an impact that ripples through the food chain, from microscopic plants that can't grow right to salmon and whales unable to find enough to eat.
The Pacific is getting warmer and more acidic, while the amount of oxygen and the building blocks for coral and some kinds of plankton are decreasing, according to initial results from scientists with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the University of Washington and elsewhere.
The Caribbean is actually better off than areas of the Indian and Pacific ocean where mortality rates — mostly from warming waters — have been in the 90 percent range in past years, said Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Alliance. Goreau called what's happening worldwide "an underwater holocaust."
..."The 2005 event is bigger than all the previous 20 years combined," he said. ...Crabbe said evidence of global warming is overwhelming. ..."The big problem for coral is the question of whether they can adapt sufficiently quickly to cope with climate change," Crabbe said. "I think the evidence we have at the moment is: No, they can't.
"It'll not be the same ecosystem," he said. "The fish will go away. The smaller predators will go away. The invertebrates will go away."
Originally posted by worldwatcher
creating artificial reefs may not work, because whatever is killing them off in the first place will do the same to the artificial ones.