Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Corals Added To IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species For First Time

Date:
September 13, 2007
Source:
Conservation International
Summary:
For the first time in history, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes ocean corals in its annual report of wildlife going extinct. A comprehensive study of marine life sponsored by Conservation International concluded that three species of corals unique to the Galapagos Islands could soon disappear forever. The 2007 IUCN Red List designates two of the corals as Critically Endangered, while a third is listed as Vulnerable. Climate change and over-fishing are blamed for threats to marine life.

Floreana coral (Tubastraea floreana) Status: Critically Endangered Region or habitat: Endemic to the Galแpagos Archipelago
Credit: Photo Copyright Paul Humann/ fishid.com, courtesy IUCN

For the first time in history, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes ocean corals in its annual report of wildlife going extinct.

A comprehensive study of marine life sponsored by Conservation International (CI) and implemented jointly with the IUCN (World Conservation Union) used data from the Galapagos-based Charles Darwin Research Station and other regional institutions to conclude that three species of corals unique to the Galapagos Islands could soon disappear forever.

The 2007 IUCN Red List designates two of the corals -- Floreana coral (Tubastraea floreana) and Wellington's solitary coral (Rhizopsammia wellingtoni) -- as Critically Endangered, while a third -- Polycyathus isabela -- is listed as Vulnerable. The Red List also includes 74 Galapagos seaweeds, or macro-algae, with 10 of them receiving the most threatened status of Critically Endangered. Prior to 2007, only one algae species had been included on the Red List.

"There is a common misconception that marine species are not as vulnerable to extinction as land-based species," said Roger McManus, CI's vice president for marine programs. "However, we increasingly realize that marine biodiversity is also faced with serious environmental threat, and that there is an urgent need to determine the worldwide extent of these pressures to guide marine conservation practice."

The Galapagos marine research was conducted by the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA), a joint initiative of IUCN and CI launched in 2005 with the support of dozens of experts and research institutions. The GMSA is studying a large portion of Earth's marine species to determine the threat of extinction.

"These Galapagos corals and algae are the first of many marine species that will be added to the Red List due to our findings," said GMSA Director Kent Carpenter of Old Dominion University in Virginia. "What is significant is that climate change and over-fishing -- two of the biggest threats to marine life -- are the likely causes in these cases."

Scientists blame climate change for more frequent and increasingly severe El Ni๑o events that have caused dramatic rises in water temperatures and reduced nutrient availability around the Galapagos Islands in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, off South America. The warmer water harms corals and algae, both of which constitute the structural foundation of unique and diverse marine ecosystems.

Corals build reefs that are habitat for fish and other marine life, and also are a major attraction for divers in the Galapagos, where tourism makes a significant contribution to the local and national economy.

The recovery of algae species following strong El Ni๑o events is harmed by over-fishing of the natural predators of sea urchins, which feed on the algae. Mushrooming urchin populations scour rocks clean of algae, depleting a major food source for other species such as the Galapagos marine iguana.

"Marine ecosystems are vulnerable to threats at all scales -- globally through climate change, regionally from El Ni๑o events, and locally when over-fishing removes key ecosystem building blocks," said Jane Smart, head of the IUCN Species Program. "We need more effective solutions to manage marine resources in a more sustainable way in light of these increasing threats."

Other coral and algae species lacked sufficient information to determine their IUCN Red List status, so they received the designation of Data Deficient. Researchers believe many of these species are likely to be listed as threatened with extinction when more detailed information becomes available.

The GMSA is the first strategic global review of the conservation status of marine species, including every marine vertebrate species and selected invertebrates and plants. Funded predominantly by CI, the five-year GMSA initiative is engaging experts from around the world to compile and analyze all existing information on the status of approximately 20,000 marine species to determine their risk of extinction according to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. The resulting analysis will identify marine "hotspots" of high conservation priority in order to focus protection efforts on their habitats and species.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Conservation International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Conservation International. "Corals Added To IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species For First Time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912094029.htm>.
Conservation International. (2007, September 13). Corals Added To IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species For First Time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912094029.htm
Conservation International. "Corals Added To IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species For First Time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912094029.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins