Reuters, 27th August 2008
To keep coral reefs from being eaten away by increasingly acidic oceans, humans need to limit the amount of climate-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a panel of marine scientists said on Wednesday.
"The most logical and critical action to address the impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs is to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration," the scientists said in a document called the Honolulu Declaration, for release at a U.S. conference on coral reefs in Hawaii.
Ocean acidification is another threat to corals caused by global warming, along with rising sea levels, higher sea surface temperatures and coral bleaching, the scientists said.
Coral reefs are a "sentinel ecosystem," a sign that the environment is changing, said one of the experts, Billy Causey of the U.S. National Marine Sanctuary Program.
"Although ocean acidification is affecting the health of our oceans, the same thing — increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — is going to in fact be affecting terrestrial environments also," Causey said by telephone from Hawaii.
Coral reefs offer economic and environmental benefits to millions of people, including coastal protection from waves and storms and as sources of food, pharmaceuticals, jobs and revenue, the declaration said.