The rise in temperature and acidity of the oceans could destroy almost all existing coral habitat by 2100. 70 to 90% of coral reefs are at risk of extinction over the next 20 years as a result of climate change and sea pollution, Science Daily reports.
There are not many suitable coral habitats left by 2100, according to new research by biogeographers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Preliminary results indicate that sea surface temperature and acidity are the most important factors in determining whether a location is suitable for breeding corals.
Excessively warm water overloads the corals, forcing them to release the symbiotic algae that live in them. This turns the brightly colored coral communities into pale thickets. Bleached corals are not dead, but they are at a higher risk of dying off.
Biologists are trying to stop the extinction of corals by replanting live corals from the laboratory on the reefs.
Scientists have mapped out which areas of the ocean will be suitable for coral restoration efforts in the coming decades. Simulations have been carried out on ocean environmental conditions: sea surface temperature, wave energy, water acidity, pollution, and overfishing in areas where corals still exist.
Researchers have found that most parts of the ocean with reefs will not be suitable for coral by 2045.
A few places that may remain coral habitable by 2100 include only small areas near California and in the waters of the Red Sea, which are not ideal for coral reefs due to their proximity to rivers.