Caribbean, Gulf Spared Widespread Coral Damage
Source: The Associated Press
November 5, 2009
San Juan, Puerto Rico - Lower-than-feared sea temperatures this summer gave a break to fragile coral reefs across the Caribbean and the central Gulf of Mexico that were damaged in recent years, scientists said Thursday.
Unusually warm water in recent years has caused the animals that make up coral to expel the colorful algae they live with, creating a bleached color. If the problem persists, the coral itself dies - killing the environment where many fish and other marine organisms live.
"We dodged a bullet this year. The good news is that temperatures didn't get quite warm enough for there to be a large-scale bleaching problem," said C. Mark Eakin, coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch network. He was among scientists gathered in Puerto Rico's capital for a meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.
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