Scientists at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting have warned that warming ocean temperatures and acidic water could destroy nearly all the existing coral reef habitats, resulting in total extinction by the year 2100.

The meeting was held on monad 17 February in San Diego.



Renee Setter, a researcher at the University of Hawaii Manoa said in a press release that:

‘by 2100, it’s looking quite grim,’

Scientists say between 70 and 90% of the world’s coral reefs are expected to disappear within the next 20 years due to climate change and pollution.

Various attempts to slow this decline have been attempted such as growing coral in labs and transplanting live coral to dying reefs, in hopes of returning them to a healthy state. However, researchers fear that these efforts won’t be enough to turn the tide.

Due to increasing sea surface temperature and acidity, ‘new research mapping where such restoration efforts would be most successful over the coming decades finds that by 2100, few to zero suitable coral habitats will remain,’ the initial findings suggest.

A few viable sites for coral reef restoration have been identified, off the coast of Baja California and the Red Sea, but even these aren’t perfect because of their proximity to rivers.

Pollution causes much harm to ocean creatures, however new research indicates that corals are more at risk from ’emission-driven changes in their environment’.

Setter said:

‘Trying to clean up the beaches is great and trying to combat pollution is fantastic. We need to continue those efforts, but at the end of the day, fighting climate change is really what we need to be advocating for in order to protect corals and avoid compounded stressors.’