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Widespread coral decline linked with onshore activities

Australian study shows how branching corals suddenly declined and failed to recover during Queensland settlement and development era

Acropora coral at French Frigate Shoals, northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Photo courtesy NOAA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Marine scientists have long been tracking the impacts of human activities to coral reefs, finding overfishing, logging and agricultural runoff all have negative effects. In a new Australian study, researchers linked a widespread coral collapse in the Great Barrier Reef with a  wave of settlement and development in Queensland.

Cores taken through the coral reef at Pelorus Island confirm a healthy community of branching Acropora corals flourished for centuries before European settlement of the area, despite frequent floods and cyclone events. Then, between 1920 and 1955, the branching Acropora failed to recover. Continue reading

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