The coral reef has significantly reduced its range since the mid-1950s. This is a consequence of climate change, overfishing, pollution and the destruction of marine habitats, the researchers say.
The coral reef is shrinking, and as a result, we are losing the species diversity of fish that inhabit it, according to the analysis of American and Canadian scientists. Unfortunately, according to researchers, this tendency will continue as our planet continues to warm up. The study was published on Friday, September 17 in the journal One Earth.
Coral reef. Research and analysis
Scientists looked closely at 14,705 reef studies in 87 countries. They showed that the condition of this marine ecosystem is deteriorating year by year. In 2002, the abundance of reef fish species peaked and has been steadily declining since then.
The study also found that species diversity on reefs has decreased by more than 60 percent, and total reef range has been reduced by about half.
Coral reefs are among the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet, so they are the first to really experience the effects of climate change. There were quite dramatic declines in the 1960s and 1970s, said Tyler Eddy, a scientist at Memorial University of Newfoundland who led the study. “If we look at the country-level trends in coral reef coverage, we can see the biggest drops are in Papua New Guinea, Jamaica and Belize,” he added.
During a review of the research, scientists noticed that the reef species composition was changing in some areas, the amount of temperature-sensitive fish was declining, and more resistant species were dominating.
Coral reefs – a source of food
Coral reefs are an important food source for millions of people around the world, especially indigenous island communities where fish are the primary source of animal protein. Scientists noted that the decline in the number of fish in the waters raises concerns about future nutritional stability.
Unfortunately, we are constantly losing corals from most of the world’s reefs. Increasing temperatures in the waters are leading to more frequent and severe cases of reef bleaching, including in the world’s most isolated and virgin places, said John Bruno, an ecologist at the University of North Carolina and co-author of the study.
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