Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rainforests of the sea

Sand Key, Great Barrier Reef by David Doubilet

Two decades ago I had the great good fortune to spend time along the Great Barrier Reef. It seemed pristine then.

Located off the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia on the continental shelf in the Coral Sea, the GBR is a world heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Still, it is not immune to the ravages of ocean acidification and is already under great threat as global warming accelerates. 

“Corals have flourished for millions of years under wide-ranging conditions, but many scientists believe that if we continue emitting carbon dioxide at current levels, all corals will likely be threatened by mid-century due to acidification of the oceans. 

"According to the World Resources Institute, 75% of corals now face high to critical threat levels. These reefs, often called the 'rainforests of the sea,' support a quarter of all marine life. If you pull the plug on coral reefs, you're pulling the plug on the entire ocean ecosystem.”

More on the Great Barrier Reef in my next post.

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