Patt Morrison for September 28, 2010

Is Global Warming threatening our seas?

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Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Mangroves and coral reef grow off Bunaken Island national marine park in northern Sulawesi. The tiny island is a marine protected area with a flourishing coral reefs, seagrass bed and mangrove that is home to endangered species such as dugongs, sea turtles, giant clams and others.

Scientists fear wide-spread die-offs of the world’s coral reefs is an early indicator of the effects of Global Warming on the planet. The extreme heat is causing the reefs to go into a severe state of stress which causes them to shed their color, or bleach. This is the alarm bell that causes scientists to worry. Die-offs pose a real threat to the ocean’s delicate ecosystem and could threaten the fisheries that feed millions of people. This is only the second time in history scientists have seen coral reefs around the world shed their color. The first time was in 1998, the hottest year on record, when a record 16 percent of coral reefs around the world died. So how scared should we be and what does this mean for the world’s oceans?


Clive Wilkinson, director of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, an organization in Australia that is tracking the phenomenon

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