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Old 11-02-2005, 10:48 PM
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Reefer Madness

I got your attention

Caribbean Reefs Bleached by Warm Water
Nov 02 6:33 PM US/Eastern
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

A bleaching phenomenon caused by unusually warm waters is whitening coral reefs throughout the Caribbean, raising fears of a large-scale die-off of the organisms, scientists said Wednesday.

The warmer atmosphere has been slowly raising ocean temperatures, threatening sea coral that can only live within a narrow temperature margin, according to scientists. A slight increase in sea surface temperature can induce coral bleaching, killing the coral.

Recent data gathered by the University of Puerto Rico shows that up to 95 percent of coral colonies off the island have been bleached in some areas.

"The concern is that we may be witnessing a massive die-off. Reports from Vieques (Puerto Rico), Barbados and many other Caribbean islands is grim," said Mary Ann Lucking, director of the Puerto-Rico-based conservation group Coralations.

Possibly the most severe bleaching happened during El Nino in 1998, which raised ocean temperatures and changed currents, causing bleaching that devastated reefs worldwide. Parts of the Indian Ocean lost up to 90 percent of its coral.

The bleaching occurs when the microscopic plants, or zooxanthellae, which live in coral tissue stop working. The zooxanthellae provide corals with color and food.

Without them, corals usually die.

Since March, the northeast Caribbean has had higher than normal sea surface temperatures. The trade winds, which usually help cool the sea, were also not as strong as they have been in the past.

"When the trade winds blow, they usually blow across the surface of the water, and cause water from the bottom, cooler water, to rise up to the surface, which keep the Caribbean cooler. That didn't happen this year and we don't know why," said Lucking.

Prior to the 1980s, coral bleaching was isolated and appeared to be the result of short-term damage from things like storms or pollution.

But in the past 20 years bleaching has become more common and more severe.

"This is probably the most severe bleaching event that Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has ever recorded," said Andy Bruckner, a scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The bleaching process can begin when temperatures are as little as one or two degrees above 86F (30C) for an extended period of time during summer months.

Scientists in Puerto Rico say temperatures have been two degrees above normal since September, typically Puerto Rico's warmest month.

"We're seeing species of coral that have never been affected by bleaching now suffering a high mortality," Lucking said.

Some colonies of coral in the Caribbean, which include up to 42 species of the animal, have become completely white, according to scientists in Puerto Rico, according to University of Puerto Rico marine biologist Edwin Hernandez. Reefs off the island-nation of Grenada are also bleached with up to 70 percent of colonies suffering some impact.

"The threat from this is enormous, we may be losing an incredible resource," said Hernandez.

Worldwide, coral reefs cover about 110,000 square miles (284,300 square kilometers) _ which is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the world's oceans. But they support more than 1 million species of marine life, sustain tourism industries and provide food for islanders throughout the tropics.

Healthy reefs are like undersea rain forests that naturally draw in carbon dioxide, helping pull harmful greenhouse gases from the air. They also provide medication. AZT, a drug for HIV patients, is derived from a Caribbean reef sponge.

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Old 11-02-2005, 11:05 PM
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Silly boy,I thought this was about my favourite herb. So there!

Greenpeace to be fined as Rainbow Warrior damages Philippines coral reef
TUBBATAHA REEFS, Philippines (AFP) Nov 01, 2005
Greenpeace is to be fined after its flagship Rainbow Warrior II damaged a coral reef in the central Philippines during a climate change awareness campaign, marine park rangers said Tuesday.

The ship and its crew were assessed a 640,000-peso (11,600-dollar) fine after the 55-meter (180-foot) motor-assisted schooner ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park on Monday, park manager Angelique Songco told AFP.

The ship's bow sliced through a reef formation measuring 160 square meters (1,722 square feet), she added.

A Greenpeace official in the Philippines described the incident as accidental, and said it would comply with the marine park authorities' ruling.

The Rainbow Warrior II arrived in the reservation in the middle of the Sulu Sea, about 600 kilometers (375 miles) south of Manila, last weekend as part of a four-month Asia-Pacific campaign to promote earth-friendly energy sources, said Greenpeace campaign manager Red Constantino.

He said the crew made dive sorties to inspect the effect of global warming on the coral formation, which is listed among the World Heritage sites of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

"The chart indicated we were a mile and a half" from the coral reef when the ship ran aground, Constantino told AFP. He said the August 2005 navigational map was provided by the mapping office of the Philippine government.

The ship's own rubber boats safely towed the Rainbow Warrior II into deeper water, and it escaped serious damage, an AFP photographer aboard the ship said.

Constantino said the ship was now heading back to the Puerto Princesa on the western island of Palawan to file an incident report with the marine park office.

Originally built in Britain in 1957 as a steam-powered fishing vessel, the Rainbow Warrior II replaced its namesake that was sunk by French agents in 1985 in Auckland harbor on its way to Moruroa Atoll to block a French nuclear test.

One crew member drowned and two French secret service agents were later jailed after pleading guilty to charges of manslaughter and wilful damage.

Constantino said that Greenpeace divers on the Tubbataha expedition had found that healthy coral and no evidence of bleaching, believed to be caused by warming sea temperatures.

Constantino said the healthy state of the Tubbataha Reefs did not disprove the theory of global warming, which he described as an "extremely complicated science."
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:08 PM
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evolution through natural selection.
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Old 11-03-2005, 01:01 AM
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just out there!
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damn you mm..

72 W114/M130

RedMeat cartoon
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Old 11-03-2005, 06:59 AM
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Those Greenpeace guys should stat off the reefer. They sure do bang up a lot of boats though if French Commandos aren't trying to blow it up the coral reef is trying to sink it.
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Old 11-03-2005, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mzsmbs
damn you mm..

the name is Dude.

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