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Humans have caused profound changes in Caribbean coral reefs

Coral reefs in the Caribbean are slowly being degraded due to the simultaneous effect of coastal development, which increases fishing and pollution, and agricultural land use, which increases agrichemical discharges and sedimentation, and lastly ocean warming. Without immediate attention of countries in the region, coral reefs may be soon beyond repair. Credit: Photos by Humberto Bahena and Henry Wolcott, Mark Defeo, Tyler Smith, Steve Spring, Stephen McGowan from Marine Photobank.

Halifax, Canada (SPX)
Jan 09, 2008

Coral reefs in the Caribbean have suffered significant changes due to the proximal effects of a growing human population, reports a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B. "It is well acknowledged that coral reefs are declining worldwide but the driving forces remain hotly debated," said author Camilo Mora at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

"In the Caribbean alone, these losses are endangering a large number of species, from corals to sharks, and jeopardizing over 4 billion dollars in services worth from fisheries, tourism and coastal protection," he added.

"The continuing degradation of coral reefs may be soon beyond repair, if threats are not identified and rapidly controlled," Mora said. "This new study moves from the traditional localized study of threats to a region-wide scale, while simultaneously analyzing contrasting socioeconomic and environmental variables," he added.

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