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Rapid warming poses an existential threat to Florida's coral reefs

corals are actively dying due to the record shattering water temperatures in Florida
corals are actively dying due to the record shattering water temperatures in Florida

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we discuss the impacts of climate driven heat waves on Florida's coral reefs. Scientists say coral reefs around the Florida Keys are losing their color because of soaring water temperatures, which could eventually lead to extinction.

Coral reefs make up less than one percent of the ocean area, but 25 percent of marine animals depend on reefs at some point in their lives. Reefs, in addition to harboring numerous marine animals, are one of the main protective barriers against hurricanes and storm surges made more intense by global warming. A billion people rely on those ecosystems for sustenance or work and the combined revenue from food, recreation, and protection from storms attributed to coral reefs has been calculated at between $2.7 and $10 trillion a year.

Florida's coral reefs generate $2 billion in local revenue and 70,400 full- and part-time jobs, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Dr. Juli Berwald, science writer and the author of Life on the Rocks: Building a Future for Coral Reefs

Dawn Desmarais, communications coordinator for Mission: Iconic Reefs at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Web Resources:

The Washington Post:

As Florida ocean temperatures soar, a race to salvage imperiled corals

The Conversation: Corals are starting to bleach as global ocean temperatures hit record highs

NOAA: The ongoing marine heat waves in U.S. waters, explained

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.