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March 30, 2006
Mourn Our Loss

Caribbean Coral Suffers Record Death

A one-two punch of bleaching from record hot water followed by disease has killed ancient and delicate coral in the biggest loss of reefs scientists have ever seen in Caribbean waters.

Researchers from around the globe are scrambling to figure out the extent of the loss. Early conservative estimates from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands find that about one-third of the coral in official monitoring sites has recently died.

"It's an unprecedented die-off," said National Park Service fisheries biologist Jeff Miller, who last week checked 40 stations in the Virgin Islands. "The mortality that we're seeing now is of the extremely slow-growing reef-building corals. These are corals that are the foundation of the reef ... We're talking colonies that were here when Columbus came by have died in the past three to four months."

A dime a year. It says some of the coral onlyl grows the width of a dime a year. That's a loss that it would take thousands of years to recover. And at the rate we're going, the planet doesn't have thousands of years, does it?

That's not the only water-related ecology problem we're facing at this precise moment. There's a massive algae bloom in the Great Lakes. Again. I'm sure it's not related to this report of sewage being dumped into the Great Lakes.

And, while we're thinking water, think about the damage floodwaters draining out of New Orleans could do.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:19 PM