Two more corals become threatened species

May 08, 2006

Two types of corals have been declared threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act -- reportedly the first time coral has been placed on that list.

Elkhorn and staghorn corals have been deteriorating for years in the shallow waters off Florida and in the Caribbean, the Naples (Fla.) Daily News reported Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says elkhorn and staghorn corals -- the main building blocks of the region's coral reef ecosystems for 500,000 years -- have declined by approximately 97 percent since the 1970s.

Disease, rising sea temperatures and hurricanes are the corals' biggest threats, according to a March 2005 federal study. They can become stressed by as small as a 2-degree change in water temperature. In addition, coral can be adversely affected by pollution, runoff and bleaching.

Jack Sobel, an ecosystem scientist with The Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit group based in Washington, said listing under the Endangered Species Act demands aggressive actions.

"It (the ESA) does have some hammers associated with it," he told the newspaper. "If you're going to arrest the decline in these species you're going to have to use those hammers."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: High UV sensitivity in hooded seal eyes improves polar bear detection

Related Stories

Cuban, US scientists bond over big sharks

6 hours ago

Somewhere in the North Atlantic right now, a longfin mako shark—a cousin of the storied great white—is cruising around, oblivious to the yellow satellite tag on its dorsal fin.

Silent extinctions on coral reefs

Jun 25, 2015

There is a ray of hope in the face of dire predictions about the future of coral reefs, with the prospect that species can shift their distribution ranges to survive climate change.

Recommended for you

Researchers discover new mechanism of DNA repair

10 hours ago

The DNA molecule is chemically unstable giving rise to DNA lesions of different nature. That is why DNA damage detection, signaling and repair, collectively known as the DNA damage response, are needed.

The math of shark skin

18 hours ago

"Sharks are almost perfectly evolved animals. We can learn a lot from studying them," says Emory mathematician Alessandro Veneziani.

Cuban, US scientists bond over big sharks

23 hours ago

Somewhere in the North Atlantic right now, a longfin mako shark—a cousin of the storied great white—is cruising around, oblivious to the yellow satellite tag on its dorsal fin.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.