MAR 15, 2016 05:09 AM PDT
A Coral Reef In Danger
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The coral reefs that surround the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean are at risk from two separate environmental factors. The first is rising temperatures in the water. Because of climate change, the water is warmer than ever and this contributes to the death of the living coral polyps. The second is the El Nino wind pattern. This pattern can disrupt the coral beds and impact the water temperature as well.

Observations in Mauritius show that water temps in December were the same as in February and March, which are the hottest times of the year. This, together with the impact of the El Nino wind, can result in coral bleaching. If that occurs, the coral beds could take decades to recover and the species of fish that depend on them are also impacted. The undersea environment is a big tourist draw for Mauritius, bringing in over a million people a year to the tiny island.

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