Many Caribbean coral reefs have either stopped growing or are on the threshold of starting to erode, which new evidence has revealed.
Associate Professor Scott Smithers, from James Cook University was a part of a seven-member team of international scientists that carried out work at reefs across the Caribbean over a two-year period.
Coral reefs build their structures by both producing and accumulating calcium carbonate, which is essential for the maintenance and continued growth of coral reefs.
The research team discovered that the amount of new carbonate being added by Caribbean coral reefs is now significantly below rates measured over recent geological timescales, and in some habitats is as much as 70 per cent lower.
Associate Professor Smithers said coral reefs formed some of the planet