Researchers have found that a third of Guam’s coral reefs died due to rising ocean temperatures. The Pacific Daily News reported Monday that University of Guam researchers say increased temperatures killed 34% of Guam’s coral reefs between 2013 and 2017.
The scientists say about 60% of the reefs along Guam’s eastern coast are gone.
Researchers say they have never before seen reef deaths as “severe” as the new findings.
The study was published in the scientific journal Coral Reefs.
A multi-agency Guam Coral Reef Response team monitors the island’s reefs and tries to revive coral communities in line with a 2017 recovery plan.
Researchers say elevated global carbon dioxide output is to blame for the heightened water temperatures.
Local contributing factors include the island’s pollution, sewage system and plastic waste.