Friday, April 9, 2010

Extinction of Carribean Coral Reefs

Coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea due to global warming are losing their structure, becoming more flat. This process continues for the past 40 years, can lead to the extinction of many species of coral reef ecosystems.

"The complex structures of reefs provide shelter for many organisms from predators. The destruction of " architecture " leads to a fall of biodiversity, which in turn, negatively affect the coastal communities earning with fishing. The destruction of the structure of reefs also reduces the natural protection of the coast from erosion.

Previous studies have shown that corals in the area undergo degradation, but scientists at the University of East Anglia University in Canada for the first time demonstrated how changes the "architecture" reefs and how it might affect the species living there.

The authors analyzed the changes in the 200 coral reefs in the period from 1969 to 2008. They showed two episodes of strong "flattening" of corals. The first of these occurred in the late 1970's and was associated with the spread of the disease, which destroyed 90% of the two types of coral polyps. The second period of vertical structures of coral reefs is happening today. Scientists associate this process with global warming and rising sea surface temperatures.

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