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Reef Building Corals of the Caribbean - Coral Crusaders

There are over 70,000 identified species of corals found throughout the oceans of the world.

Together, corals are the largest living things on our planet. They feed large portions of the developing world – over ½ billion people, they are the medicine cabinet to our species, providing lifesaving cures for diseases and the economic value of coral reefs globally is over $10 trillion.

In the Caribbean, fringing reefs protect islands from natural disasters and surging seas. 

They offer home to 35% of marine species. They provide important tourism dollars and support to many island nations.

Two species of coral, Staghorn Acropora cervicornis and Elkhorn, Acropora palmata are the primary reef building, hard corals of the Caribbean and both are on the international endangered species list. Since the 1980’s, over 98% of the hard corals in the Caribbean have died off

Why?

Locally:  inland and coastal communities have damaged reefs with chemical and nutrient pollutants, sedimentation from construction, fishing and mining practices.

Global forces contribute to the decline of corals and these include: increased greenhouse gasses that warm and acidify the oceans. Overfishing and political threats that don’t respect geo political boundaries. 

Speed and impact on reefs have created unprecedented destruction.

We must act globally.

Action: Check out the work National Geographic is doing at:

Nat Geo Coral Reefs