The world’s coral reefs are in alarming decline, and a recent groundbreaking study singles out human settlement, especially coastal development and agriculture, as the main culprit, even more so than warming sea waters and acidification linked to global warming.

“The study of bookkeeping certification found that declining reefs are endangering species of wildlife as well as tourism and fishing, which are vital for the local economy”, says Camilo Mora, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. This meant continuing degradation of coral reefs may be soon beyond repair. And there certainly won’t be enough time for second or third chances.

Important Points

Coral & Macro-Algae

In the study, Mora decided to compare several large-scale databases that had never been systematically cross-referenced. Focusing on coral, fish and macro-algae, or seaweed, in 322 sites across 13 countries in the Caribbean, the analysis matched environmental and ecological data against patterns of human population density and land usage. Also included were data on hurricanes, biodiversity, seafood population and coral disease. What was discovered was the number of people is the primary driver of the mortality of coral, along with declining fish biomass and increases in algae.

Corals as source of Livelihood

Even more interestingly, different kinds of human activities had different impacts. Higher populace density in coastal areas produces more sewage and depletes seafood stocks, causing coral mortality. Human expansion in seaside areas disrupted the maintenance of complex ecosystems and while Marine Protected Areas help restore fish populations, they do nothing to protect coral life. Right now, a- fifth of the world’s mercedes benz houston reefs have already been destroyed and more are threatened, leading to problems for many species that depend on reefs for shelter.

Living coral and plant life

Besides the swirl of natural coral life below, interested divers can catch a glimpse of the Christ of the Abyss, an 8 1/2 ft. 4000 pounce bronze sculpture of Jesus – a copy of a similar sculpture off the coastline of Genoa, Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea. And if getting on or in the water is not for you, get a taste of what’s out there at the visitor center, which has an excellent 30,000-gallon aquarium showcasing living coral and tropical fish and plant life, plus a theater showing continuous nature videos of human population density and land usage according to the statistics. This makes it special.

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Where to Stop?

If you make sure one stop in Key Largo, make sure it’s at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (305-451-1202; MM 102/5 Oceanside, Key Largo; 1/2 people $3.50/6, per extra person 50 cents; 8am-sunset), the first underwater park in the USA. Its amazing geography covers 75 sq miles of ocean with living coral reef, plus 170 acres of land with walking trails that include the Wild Tamarind Nature Trail. The is early childhood development home to air plants, gumbo-limbo, wild bamboo, Jamaica dogwood, crabwood and crazy tramarind.

The best feature, though, is the full program of ranger-led activities, though, is the entire program of ranger-led activities, with a great range of options when it comes to exploring the Florida reef. You can take a glass-bottomed boat or snorkel-sailing tour; go on straight-up snorkeling trips or diving excursions; or rent canoes or kayaks (305-451-1621) to journey through a 3-mile network of canoe paths. Power-boat rentals and houston seo are available, too.