Caribbean corel declines threaten reefs

Those interested in snorkeling and diving will find an article (subscription required) in this week's Science of concern. It sounds the alarm about a regional decline (which is paired with a worldwide decline) in coral population.

The article is mostly an analysis of 65 studies covering 263 sites across the caribbean and looks at not only the overall amount of the decline, but also the rates and the acceleration or deceleration thereof.

Overall, they estimate that about 80% of the hard coral coverage has been destroyed (going from about 50% coverage to only 10%), with the rates area- wide being widely varied across the region.

Of particular interest are two facts: first, they do not claim that the reduction is caused by global warming, but instead that the causes are mostly local in origin; second, the study points out that there is some hope for progress, as the reefs near Florida and Jamaica have seen some gains in recent years.