Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Caribbean corals decline 80% in 25 years


Coral reefs across the Caribbean have suffered a phenomenal 80% decline in their coral cover during the past three decades, reveals new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, published this week in the international online journal Science Express.

The amount of reef covered by hard corals, the main builders of reef framework, has decreased on average from 50% to just 10% in the last 25 years. Although the majority of the loss occurred in the 1980s, there is no evidence that the rate of coral loss is slowing.

“The feeling among scientists and tourists has long been that Caribbean corals are doing badly, since many people have seen reefs degrade over the years. We are the first to pull information together from across the region and put a hard figure on coral decline. The end result has surprised us. The rate of decline we found exceeds by far the well-publicised rates of loss for tropical forests”, said Toby Gardner, the lead author who compiled the data, and Dr Isabelle Côté, a specialist in tropical marine ecology in UEA’s School of Biological Sciences.

The causes of coral decline are thought to include natural factors, such as hurricanes and disease, and man-made ones, like over-fishing, pollution, and sedimentation caused by deforestation, which smothers the coral. The consequences of disappearing coral can be far-reaching, from the collapse of reef-associated fisheries, to dwindling tourism, to increased coastal damage sustained during hurricanes.

“The good news is that there are some areas in the Caribbean that appear to be recovering. The bad news, however, is that the new coral communities seem to be different from the old ones. We don’t know how well these new ones will be able to face the challenges of rising sea levels and temperatures, that result from global warming”, warns Dr Côté.

“Caribbean reefs host extraordinary biodiversity, provide a livelihood to millions of people, and essential physical protection from tropical storms” said Professor Andrew Watkinson, leader of the Tyndall Centre’s research into climate change and the coastal zone. “Now that the extent of the plight of Caribbean corals has been measured, there is renewed urgency for conservation action to restore this unique and important ecosystem”.

The research paper, Long-term region-wide declines in Caribbean coral, was written by Toby Gardner, Isabelle Côté, Jennifer Gill, Alastair Grant and Andrew Watkinson.

Mary Pallister | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>