Coral reefs provide an irreplaceable ecosystem for marine life and protect coasts - to understand why scientists are concerned about the global phenomenon of coral reef erosion. A new study shows that the rate of reef destruction is faster than we thought.
Half of the Earth's coral reefs have disappeared in the last 70 years, according to a study published in the journal One Earth. Researchers note that fish caught per capita (or rather per "effort unit") has fallen by 60% since 1950 and that coral reefs are half as capable of providing "ecological services" as in the decade 1950. The result is less biodiversity on the world's reefs.
"Coral reefs worldwide are affected by climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution," the study authors wrote. "With the projected continued degradation of coral reefs and the relative loss biodiversity threatens the prosperity and sustainable coastal development of human communities dependent on its services. ecosystem of coral reefs ”.
Coral reefs are ecosystems that are particularly sensitive to heat. The warm waters threaten the coral reefs causing "bleaching" events. Algae provide nutrients to corals through photosynthesis, but if the algae are subjected to heat pressure or overexposure to Sun light, produce a toxin. The coral then expels the algae, causing the coral to bleach. Bleaching, depending on the severity, can be fatal.
Temperatures do not need to rise too much to cause major problems. An increase in ocean temperature of 0,068 degrees Celsius has been devastating for Australia's Great Barrier Reef, with three bleaching events in the last five years. The Belize Reef and the Florida Great Reef, the second and third largest coral reef ecosystems in the world, have been similarly attacked in the last 5 years.
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The team behind the study, led by University of Newfoundland researcher Tyler Eddy, looked at data from 14.705 surveys on more than 3.500 reefs in 87 countries. Among other results, the team found that biodiversity was declining, with temperature-resistant fish becoming predominant and a reduction in fish catches per unit effort. Scientists have tried various methods to protect the reefs from the threat of rising temperatures. oceans.
Source of information: cnet.com