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The good, the bad and the smelly: USGS at the 2008 Coral Reef Symposium
Date:7/7/2008

USGS scientists will present major research findings at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. from July 7-11, 2008.

African Dust Poses Threat to Coral Reefs and Human Health: Contaminants carried with African dust to the Caribbean and the Americas may be a threat to marine organisms and humans, according to preliminary results of a new study by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon State University, and the University of the West Indies. The scientists compared contaminant levels in sources of African dust and downwind regions. Of the more than 100 persistent organic pollutants screened for in the samples, including banned and common-use pesticides, six pesticides (chlorpyrifos, dacthal, endosulfans, hexachlorobenzene, chlordane, and trifluralin) were detected in samples from all sites. Concentrations were significantly higher in Mali. DDE (a breakdown product of DDT) was also identified in Mali, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Trinidad samples. To date, DDT and carcinogenic dioxins and furans have been detected only in samples from Mali. Many of the identified contaminants are thought to be toxic to corals and other marine organisms and can interfere with reproduction, fertilization, or immune function. For more information, contact Virginia Garrison at 727-803-8747, ext. 3061 or ginger_garrison@usgs.gov.

The Emperor Has No Coral? Results of research on coral reefs in the Florida Keys reef challenge the highly popular notion that present declines in reefs in Florida and elsewhere are related to human activities. High-resolution sub-bottom profiling, reef drilling, and mapping of benthic habitats along the reef tract present a paradox in coral growth patterns: reefs that are dead or dying -- and therefore not building -- outnumber live and building reefs about 100 to 1. Yet growth rates of all common coral reef species should have kept pace wit
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Contact: Catherine Puckett
cpuckett@usgs.gov
352-264-3532
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

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