moonscape coral reefs!

Food supplies will run short, tourism will be hit and coastal communities affected as the world’s coral reefs gradually decline under climate change, scientists say.

The reefs already were dying at an increasing rate because of global warming and acidification of the oceans, said researchers meeting this week at the International Coral Research Symposium (ICRS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Chair of the climate change session, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (Ove Hoegh-Guldberg) of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Townsville, said there was evidence that all coral reefs were in trouble.

“This means we are likely to see more moonscape-like areas where reefs once used to be. This will be accompanied by a switch from the spectacularly colourful fish that people normally associate with reefs to much fewer and plainer ones. This will be accompanied by murkier, less productive waters as water quality suffers. Urgent action was needed to cap the use of oil, gas and coal contributing to global warming,” he said. “With no other solutions in front of us, then it would be foolhardy and unethical for us not to consider these urgent actions.”

The Age, 10 Jul 2008