August 28, 2008

Study Reveals Threat to Coral

PIONEERING work by Newcastle scientists will help protect valuable underwater environments.

Academics at Newcastle University, working with the Wildlife Conservation Society of New York, have found no-go zones, designed to protect coral reefs from the effects of global warming, are in the wrong place.

They say urgent action is needed to prevent the collapse of important marine ecosystems.

The team's study, published today in the journal PLoS ONE, is the largest of its kind to have been carried out, covering 66 sites across seven countries.

So-called No-Take Areas were set up to protect fish in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before climate change was a major issue, and experts found these zones are not working to protect coral reefs against global warming.

Nick Graham, of the School of Marine Science and Technology, said: "New protected zones are needed that focus on areas identified as escaping or recovering well from climate change impacts."

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