"This week a major conference in Cairns, Australia, is focusing on threats to coral reefs. Across the globe, reefs have been savaged by rising sea temperatures, overfishing, pollution and ocean acidification – a phenomenon related to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that make it difficult for creatures to build their shells and skeletons."
"Reefs have seen severe declines in coral in recent decades. In the Caribbean, for example, 75 to 85 percent of the coral cover has been lost in the last 35 years. Even the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, one of the most highly protected reef ecosystems on the planet, has seen a 50 percent decline in the last 50 years, scientists say.
Some 2,600 of the world’s marine researchers have gathered for the five-day conference, the International Coral Reef Symposium. As it opened on Monday, they issued a consensus statement calling for action to stave off the degradation of reefs."