Caribbean Coral Reefs Flattened
June 9, 2009
Coral reefs throughout the Caribbean have been comprehensively 'flattened' over the last 40 years, according to a disturbing new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA). The collapse of reef structure has serious implications for biodiversity and coastal defences – a double whammy for fragile coastal communities in the region.
It was already known that coral cover in the Caribbean was in decline, but this is the first large scale study showing exactly what this means for the architecture of the region's reefs. Published online on June 10 by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers found that the vast majority of reefs have lost their complex structure and become significantly flatter and more uniform. The most complex reefs have been virtually wiped out.
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