CORAL REEFS at risk
Digital Art on Metal 36" W X 24" H
A combination of local stressors (e.g., overfishing) and global impacts (acidity from carbon emissions and higher ocean temperatures, both related to climate change) have caused threats to approximately 75% of coral reefs worldwide. It is projected that by mid-century, 95% of coral reefs will be threatened by heat and bleaching. Coral Reefs are a crucial component of the ocean’s ecosystem, providing food and shelter to a quarter of its marine life. An estimated 500 million to one billion people rely on the fish supported by the reefs for food and livelihood.
A study released in April, 2019 by Nature magazine examined the effects on coral reefs of 2016 and 2017 bleaching events, finding that not only did many adult reefs die off but new growth also declined significantly, in some cases by as much as 93%. According to Professor Andrew Baird, chief researcher of the study, “It’s not too late to act, but time is running out….” Without drastic action, reefs “…will be fundamentally changed, as will everything.”*
*Study Dents Tough Aura of Great Barrier Reef, New York Times, April 4, 2019