Coral reefs being destroyed by climate change

Lost paradise worlds beneath the Earth’s oceans including those around the Britain are being “systemically destroyed” by climate change and over fishing before they can even be properly explored, claim scientists.

The amazingly colourful undersea oases of life, some more than a mile down, have only just been discovered and are thought to harbour countless unknown species of fish and plant-life.

But these cold water coral reefs – often growing on deep sea mountains – are falling victim to the double whammy of ocean acidification and deep sea trawling.

Those around the British Isles and Ireland have already been extensively damaged by scraping of sea nets and over-fishing of breeding grounds.

Now carbon dioxide absorption into the sea is increasing acidification and threatening to wear away the calcium which is the very building block of the reefs.

Dr Jason Hall-Spencer, marine biologists at the University of Plymouth, said the “weird and wonderful new discoveries” could disappear forever – before we even learn of their existence.

“These pristine environments have only just been discovered and they are already being systematically destroyed, ” said Dr Hall-Spencer who will outlining his fears at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2009 meeting in San Diego.

Richard Alleyne,, 18 February 2010. Full article.

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