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A New Birth For Battered Reefs

With 8,000 square miles of coral off our shores, experts are fighting the
ravages of climate change.

An increase in the global decline of coral reefs due to climate change and bleaching lends a sense of urgency to The Nature Conservancy’s Coral Restoration Program which got its start six years ago.

An increase in the global decline of coral reefs due to climate change and bleaching lends a sense of urgency to The Nature Conservancy’s Coral Restoration Program which got its start six years ago.

When most of us think about the ocean we envision an idyllic scene: sun-splashed, blue-green waters, shimmering waves rolling to the shore and perhaps a fish or two jumping in search of food. Then there’s Kemit-Amon Lewis who will tell you all is not picture-perfect beneath the surface, especially when it comes to coral reefs.

As Coral Conservation Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s U.S. Virgin Islands office, where he heads up the Coral Restoration Program, Lewis should know. “Climate change has contributed to global declines of coral reefs through a number of ways,” he says, beginning a story most of us have never heard, yet one that affects us all.

“Warming of the oceans has caused an increase in the frequency and severity of mass bleaching events that occur when corals become stressed by prolonged exposure to above-normal sea surface temperatures. The most recent bleaching to severely impact the Caribbean occurred in 2005.

Read the entire article in the May 2011 issue