Sea of the living dead

Sep 26, 2012
Sea of the living dead
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/silkebaron/5122118643/

(Phys.org)—The world's coral reefs have become a zombie ecosystem, neither dead nor truly alive, and are on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation according to an academic from The Australian National University.

Professor Roger Bradbury, an ecologist from the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, said overfishing, and pollution are pushing into oblivion.

"The scientific evidence for this is compelling and unequivocal, but there seems to be a collective reluctance to accept the logical conclusion—that there is no hope of saving the global coral reef ecosystem," he said.

"There is no real prospect of changing the trajectory of coral reef destruction in less than 20 to 50 years. In short, these forces are unstoppable and irreversible.

"By persisting in the false belief that coral reefs have a future, we grossly misallocate the funds needed to cope with the fallout from their collapse. Money isn't spent to study what to do after the reefs are gone."

As well as being a loss for , Professor Bradbury said that it would be a disaster for the hundreds of millions of people in poor like Indonesia and the Philippines who depend on coral reefs for food.

"It will also threaten the tourism industry of rich countries with coral reefs, like the United States and Australia," he said.

"Coral reefs will be the first, but certainly not the last, major ecosystem to succumb to the – the new geological era now emerging.

"That is why we need an enormous reallocation of research, government and environmental effort to understand what has happened so we can respond the next time we face a disaster of this magnitude."

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

More information: An opinion piece by Professor Bradbury is published in The New York Times: www.nytimes.com/2012/07/14/opinion/a-world-without-coral-reefs.html?_r=0

Related Stories

Tsunami reef damage recovering

Dec 27, 2005

A year after the killer tsunami ravaged regions of Southeast Asia, scientists have documented the recovery of tsunami-affected coral reefs.

Low calcification in corals in the Great Barrier Reef

Aug 31, 2012

Reef-building coral communities in the Great Barrier Reef-the world's largest coral reef-may now be calcifying at only about half the rate that they did during the 1970s, although live coral cover may not have changed over ...

Coral reef was untouched by tsunami

Feb 23, 2006

Scientists say they've discovered a large coral reef off Thailand that was apparently undisturbed by the catastrophic December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rubberman
not rated yet Sep 28, 2012
"That is why we need an enormous reallocation of research, government and environmental effort to understand what has happened so we can respond the next time we face a disaster of this magnitude."

We happened.....we're still happening.

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.