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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2008

Contact:
Karrie Carnes
305-809-4700 ext. 236

International Experts to Meet in Florida Keys to Discuss Climate Change Effects on Coral Reefs

Coral experts from the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Florida will gather at a NOAA-hosted workshop this month to share strategies for mitigating and managing the impacts of coral bleaching and climate change on reefs in the Caribbean and other regions.

Responding to Climate Change: a Workshop for Coral Reef Managers is hosted by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at the Pigeon Key Marine Science Center in Marathon, Fla., April 18-21.

“In 2005, the Caribbean suffered its worst mass bleaching, including the bleaching of over 90 percent of corals at some sites. In the eastern Caribbean almost half of those corals perished,” said Dr. C. Mark Eakin, coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch Program. “This workshop will provide managers with the tools they need to understand coral bleaching, recognize when it is likely to occur, and take actions to protect their valuable coral reef resources.”

Researchers have linked coral bleaching to a variety of factors, but the strongest evidence points to unusually warm sea surface temperatures associated with climate change. Prolonged coral bleaching of more than a week can lead to coral death and the subsequent loss of coral reef habitats for a range of marine life.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

On the Web:
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NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

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