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An Unnoticed Casualty of Global Warming: Coral

We humans have been trying to figure out how we will be affected by global warming, and we realize that other species, such as penguins and polar bears, are vulnerable as well. But something we rarely notice?coral?may perish in the warmer waters, and this will effect the fish we humans eat.

While humans can survive large temperature fluctuations, corals are only comfortable within a 12-degree temperature range. And rising global temperatures appear to be threatening their survival.

According to biologist Drew Harvell, the warm temperatures that have been occurring worldwide as a result of global warming appear to be creating fatal epidemics in coral reefs across the globe.

In the Independent, Steve Connor points out that tropical coral reefs are the places where fish congregate and many of these are the fish that people worldwide depend upon for food. More than half of these reefs are becoming degraded beyond repair. According to Connor, "It would take an additional area of tropical coral four times the size of the Great Barrier Reef?the biggest reef system in the world?to sustain current fishing levels." He quotes biologist Katie Newton as saying, "Millions of people are dependent on coral reef fisheries. We are facing a global crisis among communities which have limited alternative livelihoods or major food sources. We're facing a food-security crisis?30 million people on the planet."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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