SYDNEY, Australia — Kim Cobb, a marine scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, expected the coral to be damaged when she plunged into the deep blue waters off Kiritimati Island, a remote atoll near the center of the Pacific Ocean. Still, she was stunned by what she saw as she descended some 30 feet to the rim of a coral outcropping.
“The entire reef is covered with a red-brown fuzz,” Dr. Cobb said when she returned to the surface after her recent dive. “It is otherworldly. It is algae that has grown over dead coral. It was devastating.”
The damage off Kiritimati is part of a mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, only the third on record and possibly the worst ever. Scientists believe that heat stress from multiple weather events including the latest, severe El Niño, compounded by climate change, has threatened more than a third of Earth’s coral reefs. Many may not recover
Q: How does algae kill fish and other marine life?
The US theme park operator SeaWorld says it is ending its controversial orca breeding programme.
"A radioactive isotope linked to water from power plant cooling canals has been found in high levels in Biscayne Bay, confirming suspicions that Turkey Point’s aging canals are leaking into the nearby national park.
"With tourist season just around the corner, Florida’s beach communities would normally be preparing for a happy, healthy summer. Instead, they’re reeling from polluted water that is likely to inflict severe damage to the local economy and environment.
In case you need further evidence that mankind is doing a remarkable job of destroying the planet, consider this: If we continue our ways, the world's oceans will soon be home to more plastic than fish.
"Plastic pollution is one of the greatest burdens to the environment. Believe it or not, enough plastic is discarded every year to circle the globe four times. Even worse, it is estimated that 50% of the plastic on this planet is used only once before being thrown away.
If you live hundreds of miles away from the coast, it probably never occurs to you that the plastic bag or cup lid that you toss into the gutter might make its way into the Atlantic or the Pacific. But somewhere between 40,000 and 110,000 metric tons of plastic waste generated by Americans ends up in the ocean, according to a groundbreaking study published earlier this year in the journal Science.
The sunscreen that snorkelers, beachgoers and children romping in the waves lather on for protection is killing coral and reefs around the globe. And a new study finds that a single drop in a small area is all it takes for the chemicals in the lotion to mount an attack.