Staghorn and elkhorn corals now protected

June 9, 2006

Caribbean elkhorn and staghorn corals Thursday were placed under the protection of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Conservationists immediately issued a call for a ban on the sale of the corals, which can still be legally sold in shell shops and souvenir stores since the items were collected before the protected status took effect.

The two species of coral are on the list of "threatened" species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Both species were once dominant builders of Caribbean coral reefs, but during the last 30 years experienced dramatic declines. The new federal protection is an effort to reverse that decline, thought to have been the result of disease, global warming and hurricanes.

"These coral species are now protected to a similar degree as bald eagles and loggerhead turtles here in the United States," said Andrew Baker, an assistant professor at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. "The fact that their dead remains can still be purchased ... reveals how much we need to raise awareness of the plight of these corals. The stigma attached to purchasing elephant tusks or sea turtle shells does not exist for these threatened corals."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Reef fish study reveals migratory mateship

Related Stories

Reef fish study reveals migratory mateship

September 22, 2015

New UTS research confirms that, when it comes to rabbitfish couples, appearances can be deceptive, raising fundamental questions about pairing, reproduction and social systems.

Little crabs vs. big environmental problems in reef habitats

September 11, 2015

It's tough out there for a crab. As if overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution were not enough, they are also dealing with losing a key habitat: coral reefs. A University of Florida researcher says the oceans' smallest ...

Recommended for you

Horn of Africa drying ever faster as climate warms

October 9, 2015

The Horn of Africa has become increasingly arid in sync with the global and regional warming of the last century and at a rate unprecedented in the last 2,000 years, according to new research led by a University of Arizona ...

What are white holes?

October 9, 2015

Black holes are created when stars die catastrophically in a supernova. So what in the universe is a white hole?

Could 'The Day After Tomorrow' happen?

October 9, 2015

A researcher from the University of Southampton has produced a scientific study of the climate scenario featured in the disaster movie 'The Day After Tomorrow'.

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...

The universe's most miraculous molecule

October 9, 2015

It's the second most abundant substance in the universe. It dissolves more materials than any other solvent. It stores incredible amounts of energy. Life as we know it would not be possible without it. And although it covers ...


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.