Staghorn and elkhorn corals now protected

Jun 09, 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: Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhibit unusual absorption property

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Reef fish arrived in two waves

Apr 10, 2014

(Phys.org) —The world's reefs are hotbeds of biological diversity, including over 4,500 species of fish. A new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before ...

Dissolving the future of coral reefs

Apr 10, 2014

Swimming through the liquid turquoise waters off the island of Viti Levu, Fiji, I am surrounded by iridescent fish of all colors, schooling around healthy branching corals. With a slight movement of my fins ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.