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Feds Say 5 South Florida Coral Species Are Threatened By Global Warming

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Coral reefs have been under assault for decades from water pollution, coastal construction and overfishing. But coral today face a new and bigger danger – and that matters a lot to South Florida livelihoods.

The federal government is designating 20 more types of coral as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, five of which are prevalent off South Florida’s coast. 

The reason: climate change.

As ocean waters become warmer and more acidic, coral suffer serious degradation such as bleaching. The South Florida coral are especially susceptible.

“The five corals that live in Florida’s waters are particularly threatened because they have characteristics that make them a little more vulnerable,” says Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco, which petitioned officials to protect coral more rigorously from man-made threats like dredging. 

Those five coral species are: pillar, rough cactus, lobed star, mountainous star and boulder star.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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