Willis has hit on the real reason for some decline in coral reefs, mostly from the Carribean, but applies wherever the coral grazing fish are decimated by over-fishing. Most Pacific Islands are growing, meaning they still have a prolific ocean fauna to produce fresh sand to be washed onto beaches. The Reef Abides … Or Not
Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
I’ve written a few times on the question of one of my favorite hangouts on the planet, underwater tropical coral reefs. Don’t know if you’ve ever been down to one, but they are a fairyland of delights, full of hosts of strange and mysterious creatures. I’ve seen them far from the usual haunts of humanoids, where they are generally full of vigor and bursting life.
I’ve also seen them in various stages of ill-health, including the bleaching caused by occasional high temperatures (which a healthy reef recovers from in a few years). In all of my writings on this subject, I’ve said that the health of the reef depends in large part on parrotfish. I’ve proposed that atoll nations declare the parrotfish as their national bird, just to bring attention to the fish that are responsible for the very existence of the atolls themselves.
Overfishing, including the use of dynamite is the major problem, read it all. More here from CO2 Science:
Earth’s Coral Reefs: Probing Their Past to Foretell Their Future: What have we learned so far?