In just five decades, Brazil has lost 80 percent of the coral reef once found along 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of its northeastern coast, according to a study cited by local media Sunday.
Brazil's reef ecosystems—with 18 species of coral, algae and at least three types of fish—lie not far out to sea, near major Brazilian cities like Fortaleza, Recife and Natal.
The study, cited by the G1 news portal, was conducted by the country's environment ministry and the Federal University of Pernambuco.
Lead researcher Beatrice Padovani was quoted as saying that domestic, industrial and farm pollution were factors in boosting sediment accumulation that has devastated the reef systems.
Explore further: Great Barrier Reef dredge dumping plan could be shelved