When San Diego State University biologists Walt Oechel and Donatella Zona and several SDSU graduate students visited a coral reef off Tafeu Cove in American Samoa this past summer, they expected the bay’s relative remoteness from humanity would have protected the reef from the dangers of sewage runoff and waterborne toxins. Yet even in this virtual paradise, devastation had struck. The global perils of climate change—warming waters and ocean acidification—had killed much of the reef.

“They call it the jewel of the Pacific,” said Oechel. “Onshore, there’s no sign of human impact. It’s pristine. There’s not a bottle cap on the beach. But then you go below the surface, and it’s trashed.”

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Source: SDSU News Centre