Coral tradition loses shape

Disease, bleaching events killed corals in the Caribbean

caribbean coral reefs have lost their complex structure and flattened over the past 40 years said a study by University of East Anglia in the UK. The marine population and fishing industry that depend on them feel the impact of this change the most. The coastline has become more vulnerable to wave action and hurricanes.

The researchers collected data from 500 surveys across 200 reefs from 1969 to 2008. Two factors led to their flattening: one, in the late 1970s the white band disease killed almost 90 per cent of them; two, in the late 1990s a bleaching event caused widespread death of corals, the researchers said in the study published in the June 10 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Bleaching is a result of rising sea-surface temperatures. In 1998, the sea surface temperature rose by almost 4