Saturday, October 18, 2008

Coral Reefs and Dumb Human Schemes to Save Them

As opposed to changing human behavior to save them.

Courtesy of New Scientist:
Mission implausible: Extreme schemes to save the reefs FIRST the bad news. The planet's coral reefs are up against it. They face a barrage of threats: burial by sediment eroding from deforested lands, strangulation by algae thriving on fertiliser runoff, overfishing of species vital for reef health, damage by anchors, toxic pollution - the list goes on and on.

As if that wasn't bad enough, soaring levels of carbon dioxide are making seawater more acidic, which will make it harder and harder for coral polyps to build their rigid skeletons.

Worst of all, when seawater gets abnormally hot, the brightly coloured symbiotic algae that live within tropical corals and produce most of their food disappear, leaving their hosts vulnerable to starvation and disease. With global warming kicking in, such "bleaching" episodes are becoming more and more common.

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