Navigation Links
Major study concludes that global warming is killing off coral

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
Cornell University Communications

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:
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast ... the primary factor for the growth of the stem ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell ... application, and geography. The stem cell market of the ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast ... behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, ... others), by end use industry (government and law enforcement, ... and banking, and others), and by region ( ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle ... around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million ... estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... today announced the three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional ... by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... United States multicenter, prospective clinical study that demonstrates the accuracy of the ... of identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections by ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract research, development and ... outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions as ... regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH M7 ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting ... I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based Advanced Space ... membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: