Coral reefs at risk

Associated Press
In this May 30, 2012 photo released by the Puntacana Ecological Foundation, a diver works on a coral reef restoration program in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, live coral coverage in the Caribbean is down to an average of just 8 percent, from 50 percent in the 1970s.  Caribbean islands ranging from Bonaire to the U.S. Virgin Islands, conservationists are rearing and planting fast-growing coral species to try and turn things around by “seeding” reefs.  (AP Photo/Puntacana Ecological Foundation, Victor Manuel Galvan)

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Across the globe, reefs that have proven resilient for thousands of years are in serious decline, degraded by over fishing, pollution, coastal development and warming ocean waters. And threats to coral are only expected to intensify as a result of climate change and ocean acidification due to greenhouse gases. Scientists predict that coral is headed for extinction, possibly within this century.

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