Climate change is remarkably influencing the degradation of coral around the globe, seriously affecting its vital function within the marine ecosystem and causing an inevitable decline in the biodiversity in the reefs of our oceans.
It is of great importance to preserve the coral reefs health since this ecosystem, of extraordinary biodiversity, provides an enormous amount of resources to the inhabitant species. It also helps recycle nutrients, purify the air and water, and break down contaminant substances On the other hand, different social, cultural and leisure activities benefit from the good conservation and balance of these ecosystems.
Mexico has not been exempt from this alarming situation. Mexico has not been exempt from this alarming situation. In 2018, the evidence of the so called “white syndrome”, that affects several coral species in the Mexican Caribbean, was detected. Little is known about this disease that spreads through water and affects the coral tissue, exposing its skeleton and causing its death. Scientists worldwide are already studying tissue samples to try to identify the responsible pathogens in order to find a solution.
This weird disease affects 20 species of hard coral, including brain coral and massive corals which usually form large colonies supporting the reef structure. They are also essential for the construction of the coral reef that protects the coasts from increasingly common climatic phenomena such as hurricanes.
Current research estimate that more than 30% of the coral cover has been lost due to this phenomenon, an amount comparable to the deterioration of the reefs in the last 40 years. This damage is following an alarming acceleration process that needs to be stopped.
In response to this problem, several meetings have been held with several entities (academy, government, tourism sector, civil organizations), to develop a Regional Action Plan to help address this problem. One of the priority actions in this Plan will be the creation of a germplasm bank for the protection of samples of the species threatened by this phenomenon, which should be initiated immediately and remain in the long term. This sample support program will be developed exsitu with the collaboration of CICESE, UNAM and CRIAP-INAPESCA.