Coral reefs are dying a death of a thousand cuts and their disappearance threatens not only the incredibly diverse ecosystem that depends on them, but also human health and welfare.
In this episode of MicrobeWorld Video marine scientists Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Ph.D., chair of marine studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and Kiho Kim, Ph.D., director of the environmental studies program at American University, explain the important relationship between microbes and corals, and how this delicate symbiosis that sustains life on and around reefs is facing numerous threats from human interactions to global climate change. In addition, Tundi Agardy, Ph.D., founder and executive director of Sound Seas, discusses the need for public policy and community-based conservation efforts that may help stave off the degradation of these vital ocean ecosystems.
According to a 2004 report issued by the World Wildlife Fund, 24% of the world's reefs are under imminent risk of collapse through human pressures; and a further 26% are under a longer term threat of collapse. If nothing is done to protect these resources, many scientists estimate that reefs around the West Indies in the Caribbean will be gone by 2020, while the Great Barrier Reef may only last for another three decades.
Please visit the following sites for more information about coral reefs: