Magazine article Geographical

World's Reefs Face Death by Bleaching. (Marine Life)

Magazine article Geographical

World's Reefs Face Death by Bleaching. (Marine Life)

Article excerpt

Almost all of the world's coral reefs will have vanished in 50 years' time, and it is already too late to prevent their demise, according to a marine biologist.

This "extremely gloomy" forecast was made by Dr Rupert Ormond, Director of Glasgow University Marine Biological Station at Millport in Scotland. He believes global warming will raise ocean temperatures causing widespread bleaching of the great reefs in the Red Sea and the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Previously, the major threats to the world's reefs were considered to be the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, pollution, tourism and over-fishing. While the existence of 1,300 marine parks worldwide has lessened the impact of the latter human activities, the long-term release of greenhouse gases will, it is claimed, indirectly affect the reefs on a much greater scale.

"It is hard to avoid the conclusion that most coral in most areas will be lost," said Dr Ormond at a conference in Glasgow. "We are looking at a loss which is equivalent to the tropical rainforests. …

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