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66 coral species to get Endangered Species Act protection

Primary threats all linked to greenhouse gases and global warming

coral

A coral reef at the Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy Jim Maragos/USFWS.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Federal scientists say that at least 66 species of coral in the Caribbean and Pacific are in danger of going extinct because of threats linked to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Announcing a proposal to list those species under the Endangered Species Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration identified 19 specific threats including rising ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, disease, ecological effects of fishing, and poor land-use practices. NOAA scientists said three of the major threats — rising ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and disease — are all directly or indirectly linked to greenhouse gas emissions and a changing climate.

In the Pacific, seven species would be listed as endangered and 52 as threatened. In the Caribbean, five would be listed as endangered and two as threatened. Two other Caribbean species — elkhorn and staghorn corals — would be reclassified from threatened to endangered. Continue reading

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