Ray of hope for coral reefs

December 30, 2013 by  

Disappointingly, South Florida coral reefs are being affected by pollutants, which are rapidly increasing the incidence of coral disease by lowering the immunity of coral to the diseases that attack it. This information comes from a three-year study to document the effects of phosphorous and nitrogen from sources such as sewage and agricultural runoff, although the study also points out that there may be good news for the region’s coral yet.

According to Deron Burkepile, a co-author of thestudy, these pollutants doubled the rate of disease and increased more than three times the degree of coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is a leading indicator of coral stress and is found increasingly as sea temperatures rise.

Coral reefs play an important role in biodiversity by hosting a wide range of fish species as well as other marine life. Many developing nations are dependent on the part healthy coral reefs play in providing them with food and income. Already in the Caribbean Sea, the loss of coral has exceeded 80%.

The study, which was published in ‘Global Change Biology’, lays out the problems that are damaging coral reefs throughout the world but also offers hope for preserving the world’s coral. It has been found that when pollutants are eliminated, coral can make a surprisingly quick recovery.

In the struggle to preserve the world’s coral reefs, environmental groups will need to find good brochure printers to show the beauty of coral, as well as impress upon the public its value and the dangers it faces.