Our reefs lookin’ pretty good… for now

Towboarder gliding over coral. [photo: NOAA/Jake Asher & Molly Timmers]

Scientists don’t generally look at the bright side. For one thing, it’s not scientific. And even when prodding a scientist to offer the best case scenario, they’re usually leery to venture out on that unstable limb.

But according to American Samoa’s Coral Reef Monitoring Ecologist, Douglas Fenner, the situation for these colonies of micro-marine organisms in this small group of tropical Islands is, “enviable”.

Coral reefs are key indicators of the health of the oceans, which, like the canary in the mine, react sooner and with more detectable results to environmental stresses. Their health is measured by the “cover rate” which is the percentage of live coral found in a given area.

“We have about a 30% cover rate, which in comparison to most other oceans is quite good,” said the marine ecologist.


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