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Coral reefs threatened with extinction

Coral reef species are facing an escalating danger of extinction as a result of rising temperatures. Up to one-third of the small animals could be wiped out in the coming years due to warmer ocean waters, increasing acidity in the sea, and the compounding impacts of fishing and pollution, scientists predict.

To help save 83 imperiled coral species in U.S. waters, the Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect them under the federal Endangered Species Act.

"Coral reefs are the world's most endangered ecosystems and provide an early warning of impacts to come from our thirst for fossil fuels," Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director for the organization, said in a statement announcing the petition. "Within a few decades, global warming and ocean acidification threaten to completely unravel magnificent coral reefs that took millions of years to build."

Up to one-fifth of the world's coral reefs already have been lost and the threatened species in U.S. waters could be gone by midcentury if steps are not taken, the petition said. Warmer waters have led to fatal bleaching of coral reefs, while ocean acidification, which occurs from the sea's absorption of carbon dioxide, prevents reefs from developing protective skeletons.

Elkhorn and staghorn corals in Florida became the first coral species to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2006. Expanding the ESA listings could mean further controls on fishing, dumping, dredging and offshore oil development that could threaten reefs.

-- Kim Murphy

Photo: A squat lobster tiptoes through a coral reef off the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Credit:

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From the United States, China and all the other nations of the world, great amounts of fossil fuels are being burned. The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide (CO2) in equally great amounts proportionally to the amount burned. What happens to this carbon dioxide? Where does it go? Could it be that it goes into the atmosphere and then into the ocean? Or does it go back underground from where it came?

There is a huge hole in the extinction due to warming theory. If we are actually going into a warming phase, then corals would be colonizing hard substrates further and further north as their natural temperature barriers moved northward - as they have with previous warming periods. There is no evidence that this is occurring to my knowledge. Having every major reef system in the world being operated as a giant for profit amusement park and receiver of the associated human vacation resort waste's, now that might be causing a problem here and there... Naaahhh. Couldn't be that obvious.

Hmm, the usual dishonest claims and speculation involving talking about what MAY happen in the future as if it is happening now.

Coral bleaching occurs for a variety of reasons, including when water temps DROP, and most reefs recover quite quickly.

There is no evidence at all that the oceans are actually acidifying or that it is having any real word effects. Sakashita is not being honest when saying it "prevents reefs from developing protective skeletons" and thus giving the false impression it is happening now.


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