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1/3 of reef-building corals face extinction
Date:7/10/2008

species in the Indo-Pacific, largely resulting from the high concentration of people living in many parts of the region.

Corals from the genera Favia and Porites were found to be the least threatened due to their relatively higher resistance to bleaching and disease. In addition, 141 species lacked sufficient information to be fully assessed and were therefore listed as Data Deficient. However, researchers believe that many of these species would have been listed as threatened if more information were available.

The results emphasize the widespread plight of coral reefs and the urgent need to enact conservation measures. "We either reduce our CO2 emission now or many corals will be lost forever," says Julia Marton-Lefvre, IUCN Director General. "Improving water quality, global education and the adequate funding of local conservation practices also are essential to protect the foundation of beautiful and valuable coral reef ecosystems."

Coral experts participated in three workshops to analyze data on 845 reef-building coral species, including population range and size, life history traits, susceptibility to threats, and estimates of regional coral cover loss.

The reef-building corals assessment is one group of a number of strategic global assessments of marine species the GMSA has been conducting since 2006 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Other assessments are being conducted on seagrasses and mangroves that are also important habitat-forming species, all marine fishes, and other important keystone invertebrates. By 2012, the GMSA plans to complete its comprehensive first stage assessment of the threat of extinction for over 20,000 marine plants and animals, providing an essential baseline for conservation plans around the world, and tracking the extinction risk of marine species.

The results of the coral species assessment will be placed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in Octob
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Contact: Susan Bruce
sbruce@conservation.org
703-341-2471
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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