Coral Reefs Imperiled By Rising Temperatures

According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, coral reefs in the Caribbean face a considerable risk of bleaching and die-offs partly due to rising water temperatures.

The report says bleaching, a trauma-induced ejection of symbiotic algae often resulting in paler coloring, may exceed the record levels recorded in 2005, when, in the eastern Caribbean, "as much as 90 percent of corals bleached and over half of those died."

The NOAA reported in June that National Climatic Data Center found global ocean temperatures were the highest on record, creating a habitat conducive to bleaching. That study also found that arctic sea ice had receded drastically from the 1979-2000 period.

It is thought that similar conditions may develop in the Gulf of Mexico and Central Pacific.

Published: July 28, 2009