NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral reefs

A status
released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency
(NOAA) shows that overall, coral reefs in the U.S. are currently in
fair condition, but these reefs are vulnerable to severe decline in
the near future. This threat is the worst along the Florida coast,
where few corals remain, and about 98% of the dead corals in this
area were lost because of climate change.

Prepared in collaboration with the Maryland Center for
Environmental Science, the report provides a clear picture on the
status of the country’s reefs. The report looks at the coral reefs along the
Pacific and Atlantic coasts and is the first of its kind to take a
comprehensive look at major coral reefs in the U.S., including
around the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and
Hawaii. Researchers analyzed reef data collected between 2012 and

Related: The Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals to
climate change

The main threats to the coral reefs in the U.S. include disease,
fishing and ocean warming and acidification.

officials say that although the corals are in a fair
condition as a whole, their future looks dire. The state of ocean
warming and acidification is on the rise in most coastal regions.
At the same time, other threats, such as coral disease, are also
worsening. To retain and revive the country’s corals, measures
need to be put in place to curb the threats.

Jennifer Koss, director of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation
Program, said that the threats to coral reefs have increased due to
climate change. “It used to be mostly water quality … but now
it’s pretty well accepted that it’s predominantly climate change,”
Koss said.

Coral reefs are biologically rich zones and account for about
25% of all marine life. They also help protect shorelines from
hurricanes and storms. Reefs are even economically beneficial,
because they are a rich source of fish and serve as vibrant
tourist attractions.

NOAA researchers have now expressed their concerns about the
future of corals in the U.S. Following the report, experts are
urging agencies, individuals and the federal government to take
actions that will protect the remaining coral reefs before it’s
too late.


The Guardian

Image via NOAA

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral