The Environmental Outlook: The Health and Future of Our Coral Reefs

In this Aug. 16, 2008 file photo, a parrotfish is shown swimming over a dead coral reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary near Key West, Fla. Colorful parrotfish and spindly sea urchins are the key to saving the Caribbean's coral reefs, which may disappear in two decades if no action is taken, a report by several international organizations said. - AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File

In this Aug. 16, 2008 file photo, a parrotfish is shown swimming over a dead coral reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary near Key West, Fla. Colorful parrotfish and spindly sea urchins are the key to saving the Caribbean's coral reefs, which may disappear in two decades if no action is taken, a report by several international organizations said.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File

The Environmental Outlook: The Health and Future of Our Coral Reefs

For this month’s Environmental Outlook: the health and future of our coral reefs.

A new report says most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years. Climate change has long been thought to be the main offender in the alarming rate of coral degradation. But this latest study says over-fishing and pollution are the key culprits, killing off vital grazers like parrotfish and sea urchins. Some scientists say this is good news: there is a clear path to removing these local stressors, including tighter fishing regulations. But others warn that destructive coral bleaching due to rising water temperatures remains a major concern. For this month’s Environmental Outlook: the health and future of our coral reefs.

Guests

Andrew Revkin

writes the Dot Earth blog for The New York Times; Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University.

Mark Eakin

coordinator, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch program.

Nancy Knowlton

Sant Chair for Marine Science, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Fabien Cousteau

oceanographic explorer, conservationist and documentary filmmaker.

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