|USGS scientist Thierry Work takes a sample from diseased coral at Tunnels Reef |
on the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii. © USGS.
Climate Change linked to Outbreak?
Climate change has adversely affected the coral reefs of Hawaii and it's likely that like other possible causes such as land-based pollution, climate change could also be responsible for the coral disease outbreak. "Wildlife disease outbreaks are indicators that something is awry in the environment. Understanding causes of disease and what drives those causes is important because this information helps management agencies make informed decisions to prevent further spread of the disease or minimize impact of disease. Understanding the role and causes of disease in corals and their prevention may contribute to prevention of additional outbreaks and aid in their recovery." Coral reefs around the world support over one million species of plants and animals. They are important both environmentally and economically. "Coral reefs are important to Hawaii's underwater environments and the financial well-being of its tourism industry. Like it or not, ecosystem health is closely intertwined with human and animal health," said USGS scientist Thierry Work. - Science World Report.