Home Research Damage to coral reefs will cause problems for communities dependent on them

Damage to coral reefs will cause problems for communities dependent on them


Scientists have revealed that damage to coral reefs around the world will have a direct impact on the people living near those areas and dependent on them and that there is a need to address those issues urgently.

According to the study by researchers at Duke University and the Université de Bretagne Occidentale published in journal PLOS ONE the destruction of coral reefs in regions where human dependence is highest pose an immediate and most serious threat. Scientists have mapped human dependence of corals at the country level while also mapping the largely unavoidable impacts of increased sea surface temperature and ocean acidification.

Researchers have revealed that in just three decades people living in regions where coral reefs are in abundance and being damaged because of various factors will be the worst hit. Scientists reveal that people living in Micronesia, Indonesia, parts of Australia and Southeast Asia, Western Mexico and others will be facing various issues because of increased coral damage as well as high temperatures.

Researchers say that the damage to reef will result in lost fish habitats and shoreline protection, jeopardizing the lives and economic prosperity of people who depend on reefs for tourism and food.

Previous studies have already established the problems that humans, reefs and other living things on the planet will face due to rising CO2 concentration. The latest study builds up on previous studies to identify exactly how people and coral reefs are affected by a high-CO2 future and suggests pathways to help deal with changes.

Using data from the maps, the study predicts that the countries of Oceania will be among the first to face the greatest environmental stresses from climate change and ocean acidification, followed by the Coral Triangle countries of Southeast Asia and other parts of Australia — all areas with high dependence on coral reefs.

Countries most likely to experience severe ocean acidification are generally different from those that will experience the earliest onset of coral bleaching. Acidification is projected to be worse for Baja California (Mexico), Japan, China, and southern Australia because they are at the upper and lower latitudinal bounds of coral reef distribution and thus generally in cooler waters that naturally carry more CO2.

The authors say policy action to combat the threats of ocean acidification and surface temperature rise must be informed by data and science, but the research community is still doing a poor job of collecting this information where these threats are most substantial for people. Many of the countries most dependent upon coral reefs are also the countries for which we have the least robust data on ocean acidification, especially the South China Sea, an area of high human dependence and equally high political tensions.