Coral reef under threat

Sad reef

The dying Lighthouse reef of Havelock Island typifies shallow water reefs the world over. The ecosystem is collapsing.

So-called bleached coral looses its color as the symbiotic relationship with a protozoa fails. As the coral stop growing and eventually die, the myriad species that survive around them move or diminish. Frequently, it seems the corals are left to the whims of algae.

Scientists say coral bleaching is caused by a variety of factors stressing the coral (which are actually tiny creatures that build magnificent skeletons) and disrupting the symbiosis. Global warming, acidification, human waste, harmful fishing habits and more are all very real human impacts on these rain forests of the sea.

This underwater rainforest is all but gone

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