Number of Threatened Coral Species Jumps From 2 to 22
A ruling by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration bumps the number of protected coral species to 22.
The listing of 20 species at once makes this the largest Endangered Species Act (ESA) ruling ever. But it could have been even larger, said Eileen Sobeck, assistant administrator with NOAA Fisheries: 83 species of coral had been proposed for listing.
Reef-building corals around the world are suffering the effects of ocean acidification, rising ocean temperatures, and pollution. A frequent symptom of damage is bleaching: An entire reef may turn white as the corals expel the symbiotic algae that live inside them. (See "Giant Coral Die—Off Found-Gulf Spill 'Smoking Gun?'")
The newly listed species are not going extinct now, said David Bernhart, a biologist with NOAA Fisheries Service in St. Petersburg, Florida, but there's a good possibility