Navigation Links
Major study concludes that global warming is killing off coral
Date:12/21/2007

If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth's coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.

"It's vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world's carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystem," said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) group that wrote the new study.

The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic, said co-author Harvell, which is triggering widespread coral disease and stifling coral growth toward "a tipping point for functional collapse."

The 17 marine scientists who authored the new study argue that "drastic action" is needed from world leaders to turn around the trend in rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to protect coral reefs. They based their conclusions on the forecasts for rising global temperatures and levels of CO2 announced recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body.

"Coral reefs have already taken a big hit from recent warm temperatures, but rapid rises in carbon dioxide cause acidification, which adds a new threat: the inability of corals to create calcareous skeletons," said Harvell. "Acidification actually threatens all marine animals and plants with calcareous skeletons, including corals, snails, clams and crabs. Our study shows that levels of CO2 could become unsustainable for coral reefs in as little as five decades."

In the short term, better management of overfishing and local stressors may increase resilience of reefs to climate threats, but rising global CO2 emissions will rapidly outstrip the capacity of local coastal managers and policy-makers to maintain the health of these critical ecosystems if the emissions continue unchecked, the authors stress.

At stake, added Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Center for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia, and the study's senior author, are ecosystems that play vital roles in providing habitats for a vast array of marine species that are essential to the oceans' complex food chain. They also provide livelihoods to 100 million people who live along the coasts of tropical developing countries. Diving tourism in the Caribbean alone is estimated to generate more than $100 billion a year. The loss of coral reef ecosystems also is exposing people to flooding, coastal erosion and the loss of food and income from reef-based fisheries and tourism, he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Press Relations Office
pressoffice@cornell.edu
607-255-6074
Cornell University Communications
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. deCODE discovers cause of major subtype of glaucoma
2. Bleeding, not inflammation, is major cause of early lung infection death
3. Mustafa alAbsi Ph.D. and national team awarded major NIH grant
4. Leading experts cite poor health and nutrition as major barrier to education in developing world
5. Majority of Americans want local action on global warming, says poll
6. How schizophrenia develops: Major clues discovered
7. Major genetic breakthrough for ankylosing spondylitis brings treatment hope
8. NIH selects LIAI for major study on allergy molecular causes and possible treatments
9. Local sources major cause of US near-ground aerosol pollution
10. Tree of life for flowering plants reveals relationships among major groups
11. Humans not the major target of Shiga toxin
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/29/2016)... Nov. 29, 2016   Neurotechnology , ... object recognition technologies, today released FingerCell 3.0, ... recognition solutions that run on low-power, low-memory ... using less than 128KB of memory, enabling ... that have limited on-board resources, such as: ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... Nov. 22, 2016   MedNet Solutions , an ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce that ... Healthcare and Life Sciences Awards as "Most Outstanding ... an unprecedented year of recognition and growth for MedNet, ... 15 years. iMedNet ™ , ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... Calif. , Nov. 16, 2016 ... user experience and security for consumer electronics, and ... the financial and retail industry, today announced a ... and convenient way to authenticate users of mobile ... Sensory,s TrulySecure™ software which requires no ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016 More than $4.3 ... 11th Double Helix Medals dinner ( DHMD ). The gala was held ... New York City and honored Alan ... contributions, respectively, to health and medicine and the public understanding ... in 2006, the event has raised $40 million for ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016 CytRx Corporation ... development company specializing in oncology, today announced the appointment ... sarcoma surgeon, industry consultant, and private healthcare investor, to ... a healthcare leader with clinical and strategic experience at ... CytRx,s Chairman and CEO. "As one of the world,s ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... the value of DNA microarray comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) for HER2 ... Cancer Symposium. Using molecular test results from tumors with previously documented positive, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... The Conference Forum has announced that the ... will take place on February 1-3, 2017 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York ... program provides a unique 360-degree approach, which addresses the most up-to-date information regarding business ...
Breaking Biology Technology: