Environmental activists are petitioning the federal government to put 83 coral species on the endangered species list. They say global warming and ocean acidification are threatening the corals with extinction. The Center for Biological Diversity said Tuesday that the coral species in question are found in Hawaii, Florida and U.S. territories in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and the Pacific.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration must respond to the group’s petition within 90 days and decide within a year whether listings are warranted. Warm ocean temperatures can cause corals to expel algae they rely on for growth, resulting in what’s called bleaching. Bleaching episodes can kill coral if they occur often and last for long periods.
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