Coral—elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) coral, in particular—has been decimated throughout the Caribbean in the last four decades. Both are listed as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and have suffered declines of more than 90 percent, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The decline began in the early 1980s after Diadema antillarum—a long black spine sea urchin that eats algae off coral reefs—died off, due to a waterborne pathogen. In its absence, young coral struggled against the algae growth. Coupled with other stressors, including pollution, climate change, overfishing, hurricanes, disease and more, the impact has reverberated throughout the ocean and beyond.
Today, SECORE and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio, in collaboration with facilities such as Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Ill., Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Neb., California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Calif., and others, are working to better understand—and reverse—the decline in coral.
Origins: Sustainability and Transparency in Aquatic Collections (Members Only)
A New Spirit of Discovery (Members Only)
Beyond Compliance at the National Aquarium (Members Only)
Tigerfish © Todd Stailey, Tennessee Aquarium
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