Some types of coral are now considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act. From the New York Times, Coral is Dying, Can it Be Reborn?
“We have lost 25 percent of the world’s corals in the last 25 years,”
David E. Vaughan, director of the Center for Coral Reef Research at
Mote, said in an interview, adding that 25 percent more are expected to
die in the next decade or two.
In addition to polluted waters, disease, and environmental factors (like fishing and tourists), global warming is also killing coral:
And then there is global warming.
So far, scientists say, it has had two main effects on coral, both
potentially lethal. First, as oceans absorb more carbon dioxide, the
chief greenhouse gas, they become more acidic. The acidity makes it
more difficult for corals to grow and may even cause them to start to
dissolve. And as oceans warm, algae that live in corals, and on which
they depend, may be killed.
The change is so drastic that I’ve been able to notice the difference over the past ten years. And it was already happening when I first started diving and snorkeling – we’d see huge expanses of dead coral and at the time I was told it was because the water was too warm for them. (When you can dive without a wet suit at 100 feet, you know the water is warm!) It’s very sad that our children won’t get to see what we’ve had the priviledge of seeing.