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Immediate action needed to save corals from climate change
Date:12/13/2007

eric CO2 levels are currently at 380 parts per million (ppm) and the papers authors, members of the Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management Program (CRTR), calculate that once levels reach 560ppm, the calcification process could be reduced by up to 40 percent. Recent science also suggests that by 2100 the oceans will be so acidic that 70 percent of the habitat for deep-water corals, once considered relatively safe from the effects of climate change, will be uninhabitable.

Ocean acidification is just one example of the threats corals are facing. Bleaching, a process that is triggered when summer sea temperatures rise above normal for weeks at a time, causes corals to expel the algae that gives them their colour and nutrients. This phenomenon killed 16 percent of reef-building corals in 1997, according to the papers authors. Destructive fishing methods, oil and gas exploration and pollution have also contributed to the global decline of coral reefs, with 20 percent already destroyed and another 50 percent threatened or verging on collapse in just the past few decades.

Consumer demand has also placed corals at risk. Popular products include coral jewelry, home decor items and live animals used in home aquaria. Corals grow so slowly it can take decades for them to recover, if at all. Catches of precious red corals, the most valuable of all coral species, provide a striking example of how demand for a fashion item can decimate a species. Red coral populations have plummeted 89 percent in the past two decades. Conscientious companies such as Tiffany & Co. removed real coral from their product lines over five years ago.

Fernanda Kellogg, president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, said, Tiffany & Co. is committed to obtaining precious materials in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible. We decided to stop using real coral in our jewelry and feel that there are much better alternatives that celebrate
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Contact: Julia Roberson
jroberson@seaweb.org
01-144-770-454-8392
SeaWeb
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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