Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sign of the Coming Apocalypse #4401

Snorkelers  exploring the coral reef at Green island
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 19% of all the world's coral reefs have died over the past few decades -- mostly due to climate change threats like acidification and rising sea temperatures. Although there are apparently some hopeful signs, climate change will continue to be bad news for corals unless significant emissions reductions happen.

So that sucks. Particularly because it turns out that corals are really fascinating. For example, corals usually grow asexually, but also reproduce sexually via massive, synchronized spawning events triggered by the lunar cycle (coral apparently have primitive photoreceptor eyes) that spread fertilized eggs over large distances to form new colonies.

Stuff like this makes me wish I knew the first thing about biology. Biology is kind of awesome.

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