"The Obama administration will consider federal protection for 82 coral species threatened by warming water temperatures.
The National Marine Fisheries Service said yesterday that it has found "substantial scientific or commercial information" that Caribbean and Indo-Pacific corals may be threatened or endangered. Environmentalists have predicted the corals -- found near Florida, Hawaii and U.S. territories -- could be wiped out by midcentury if the government does not take steps to protect them from warming waters, rising ocean acidity and pollution.
The announcement in yesterday's Federal Register (pdf) launches a formal status review by federal biologists. The fisheries service will also accept public comment before deciding next year on whether to list the corals under the Endangered Species Act."