Coral reef cover has been decimated by HALF since the 1950s thanks to climate change, study warns 

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  • Researchers led by the University of British Columbia assess reef systems
  • He saw the extent of reefs and their ability to provide services such as food
  • Fish biodiversity and biomass have declined by about 60 percent since the 1950s
  • Erosion of reefs will threaten the well-being of coastal communities

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One study found that coral reef cover has decreased in size by more than half since the 1950s due to climate change, excessive fishing, pollution and other human impacts.

Researchers led by the University of British Columbia provided the first comprehensive, global look at the impact of these changes on ‘ecosystem services’.

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It refers to the ability of coral reefs to provide essential benefits to humans.

The team found that loss of coral reef coverage resulted in similar reductions in ecosystem services, and a 60 percent loss in fish biodiversity and biomass.

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They warn that continued degradation of global reef systems will threaten the well-being and development of coastal, reef-dependent communities.

Climate change, overfishing, pollution and other human impacts have reduced the size of coral reefs by more than half since the 1950s, a study finds.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted the first comprehensive, global look at the impact of these changes on 'ecosystem services' - the ability of coral reefs to provide significant benefits to humans.  Image: Changes in coral cover from the 1950s to the present day

Researchers led by the University of British Columbia conducted the first comprehensive, global look at the impact of these changes on ‘ecosystem services’ – the ability of coral reefs to provide significant benefits to humans. Image: Changes in coral cover from the 1950s to the present day

what did they study

In their paper, Dr. Eddy and his colleagues look at five aspects of reef systems:

  • live coral cover
  • Allied Fishing Catch and Try
  • Fishing differences on the food-web
  • biodiversity associated with coral reefs
  • Seafood consumption by coastal indigenous peoples
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“Coral reefs are known to be important habitats for biodiversity and are particularly vulnerable to climate change, as ocean heat waves cause bleaching events,” said paper author and ecologist Tyler Eddy from Memorial University of Newfoundland. can become the reason.

‘Coral reefs provide important ecosystem services to humans through fisheries, economic opportunities and protection from storms.’

In their study, Dr. Eddy and colleagues performed a global analysis of trends in coral reefs and associated ecosystem system services, factoring in the extent of live coral cover, associated biodiversity and fisheries-related catches.

They also looked at differences in fishing on the food web, as well as seafood consumption by coastal-based indigenous peoples.

Data for the study was derived from data from a variety of sources, including coral reef surveys, biodiversity assessments and fisheries data – allowing the team to assess global and country-level trends in coral-related ecosystem services. gives.

“Our analysis indicates that the ability of coral reefs to provide ecosystem services has declined by about half,” said paper author and marine biologist William Cheung of the University of British Columbia.

‘This study highlights the importance of how we manage coral reefs not only on a regional scale, but also on a global scale – and the livelihoods of the communities that depend on them.’

The team found that fish catches on coral reefs peaked about two decades ago and have since declined, despite increased fishing efforts.

In fact, so-called catch-per-unit-effort – commonly used as an indicator of changes in biomass – is now 60 percent lower than in 1950, as well as the diversity of species living on the coral. rocks

“Coral reefs are known to be important habitats for biodiversity and are particularly vulnerable to climate change, as ocean heat waves cause bleaching events,” said paper author and ecologist Tyler Eddy from Memorial University of Newfoundland. can become the reason. Image: Map showing the level of change in coral coverage around the world

Dr Eddy continued, 'Coral reefs provide important ecosystem services to humans through fisheries, economic opportunities and protection from storms.  Pictured: pink coral

Dr Eddy continued, ‘Coral reefs provide important ecosystem services to humans through fisheries, economic opportunities and protection from storms. Pictured: pink coral

The team found that fish catches on coral reefs peaked about two decades ago and have since declined, despite increased fishing efforts.  Image: Pressures including climate change, pollution and overfishing are reducing seafood production on coral reefs

The team found that fish catches on coral reefs peaked about two decades ago and have since declined, despite increased fishing efforts. Image: Pressures including climate change, pollution and overfishing are reducing seafood production on coral reefs

The impacts of degraded and depleting coral reefs through impacts on subsistence and commercial fisheries and tourism are already evident in Indonesia, the Caribbean, and the Caribbean. [the] South Pacific,’ the researchers wrote in their paper.

Maritime defense sectors, when present, do not always defend against it, he noted – as such may not protect against climate change and may be limited in their enforcement capabilities.

Even when marine protected areas exist because they do not provide protection from climate change and may suffer from a lack of capacity for enforcement and marine protected area staff,” the researchers write.

The team continued, ‘Fish and fisheries provide essential micronutrients in coastal developing regions with few alternative sources of nutrition.’

‘Coral reef biodiversity and fisheries take on additional importance for indigenous communities, small island developing states and coastal populations where they may be essential to traditions and cultural practices.

They concluded, ‘The diminished capacity of coral reefs to provide ecosystem services undermines the well-being of the millions of people who have historical and ongoing relationships with coral reef ecosystems.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal one earth.

When sea temperature rises, coral expels tiny seaweeds that turn them white.

Coral has a symbiotic relationship with a small seaweed called ‘zoxanthellae’ that live inside and feed on them.

When sea surface temperatures rise, corals expel colored algae. the loss of…

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