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Endangered Staghorn & Elkhorn corals still live around Puerto Rico, offshore

Photo Elena May 2008, offshore reef, south coast of Vieques.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service announced listing staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This would be the first listing of any coral species as threatened or endangered under the ESA.

Once the dominant reef-building corals in Florida and the Caribbean, elkhorn and staghorn corals have almost entirely disappeared. In the past three decades, these corals declined more than 90 percent. Between 1970 and 2000, about 80 percent of Caribbean corals died, and a severe bleaching event in 2005 killed nearly 20 percent of the remaining coral. Bleaching generally occurs when corals reach their thermal limits and expel the symbiotic algae that are vital for their survival.

Global warming is the principal threat to coral reefs. Bleaching events are becoming more frequent and severe as the ocean absorbs heat from the climate system. Warm waters also render corals more vulnerable to disease, and sea-level rise can drown suitable shallow habitat. Additionally, increased frequency and intensity of storms can abrade and damage corals. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is absorbed by the ocean and causes seawater to become more acidic. If unabated, ocean acidification is likely to impair coral growth and dissolve coral structures. Other human activities that harm coral habitat include coastal development, boating, fishing, and snorkeling ( because of the amount of sunblock used).

Play your part in saving the corals, use a 'rash guard' ( UV blocking surfers shirt) so that you will use less sunblock - use only waterproof sunblock and NO spray sunblocks, thanks.

FEEDING THE FISH ON LOBOS ISLAND REEF

Private snorkeling tour with Elena

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Please note: I have worked hard, over the last 5 years, to take pictures of Puerto Rico that portray it well and show people the best of what there is to be seen. I hope you enjoy my pictures, I welcome you to use them; but only if you are fair and credit me with them. All you have to do is put a link to www.elyunque.com and then we can all share them.

If you use them for advertising your business, without a hyperlink to me I will consider that stealing and illegal.

Also, please do not name the jpeg elyunque, call it something else.

Thanks, enjoy and use with a link.. Elena www.elyunque.com


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