Warn of increasing damage on coralline reefs in the Caribbean Sea due to climate change

-PHOTO TAKEN 17NOV05- A diver repairs coral damaged by hurricane Wilma's storm surge along Mexico's ..The coralline reefs of the Caribbean Sea, are being severely affected by rising temperatures and ocean acidification, factors associated with climate change, experts and scientists from the region confirm.

On the other hand, hurricanes, whose intensity and frequency increased in the last decade, with a significant impact in some areas of the Caribbean islands, also caused damage to these ecosystems, according to a special report.

Refer in several reports the experts, a shift from the predominance of good corals, builders of the relief and great value as a wildlife refuge, coastal protection and tourism attraction for diving, which are replaced gradually by opportunistic species much less useful .

Coralline reefs are highly complex systems and therefore the damage caused by natural disturbances or those caused by humans, can take many decades to be remedied.

In the Mesoamerican Reef along the coast of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, there are advances that coral bleaching is a phenomenon that is occurring in many areas of the Caribbean, although its causes are unknown but has been attributed to small increases in average temperature of surface waters.

In the rest of Central America there are almost no coral reefs, possibly by the presence of a sandy stretch of coast between Mexico and El Salvador, and the river discharge that dilute salinity and increased turbidity of coastal waters.

In Panama, one of the natural impacts affecting the reefs is the phenomenon of El Niño. Although no one can predict with certainty it has been observed an abnormal elevation of temperature in these waters.

The PhD, Peter M. Alcolado, who works as a specialist of the Institute of Oceanology of Cuba, said that in addition there are frequent coral bleaching events, and even when they seem to have caused little annual mortality in the Antillean archipelago, its effects seem to be accumulating.

The average rate of annual decline of coral coverage in Cuba is 1.6 percent of the fund suitable for colonization of the reef, a figure only slightly lower than other areas of the region.

It is predicted then that will be very few reefs of platform edge for the year 2050, by the highlighted reports .

In the Caribbean there are about a hundred species of corals and they are found in wave-exposed coasts and to the winds.

In Puerto Rico some rivers reach to transport annually until 100 metric tons per hectare of suspended sediments.

These sediments reach into the sea where they are scattered degrading the quality of coastal waters. The coralline systems subject to sedimentation are destroyed or degraded rapidly.

In areas of Jamaica, the Dominican Republic as in Mexico have been strong impact of hurricanes in recent years, losing large coral communities.

Only 25 percent of of the Caribbean coralline communities are in good condition, as known during an International Symposium on Coral Reefs, where they met in 2010 about 2,500 scientists, experts and government officials from 114 countries.

Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA 24

About ANCA24canada

Environmental, Ecologists and Conservationist news from the Americas
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