Monday, August 10, 2009

Global warming jeopardizes world's most diverse marine ecosystem

Environment News Service: The Verde Island Passage, a narrow corridor of tropical waters in the Philippines that is considered the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world, is at risk of climate change and needs immediate protective action, scientists are warning.

The scientists gathered last week in Batangas City, Philippines for a workshop organized by Conservation International, which is based in Washington, DC. After assessing the impacts of climate change on the Verde Island Passage, they painted a grim picture for the unique area.

Climate change will not only affect marine habitats and species but also fisheries and the tourism industry of this popular destination with consequences for the well-being of nearly two million people who rely on them for food and income. "The marine habitats and species of the Verde Island Passage are already threatened by human impacts, like overfishing, pollution and coastal infrastructure development," said Dr. Giuseppe Di Carlo, Conservation International's marine climate change manager.

"Climate change is intensifying these impacts, with severe consequences for the well-being of the people of the area, since they depend on fishing and tourism industry," said Di Carlo.

The Verde Island Passage has the highest concentration of marine species of any region in the world's oceans, including whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, giant clams, Tridacna gigas, and the iconic Banggai cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni….

A view of the Verde Island Passage from Monte Maria, Brgy. Pagkilatan, Batangas City. Overlying clouds far south show the mountains on Mindoro. Shot by Kampfgruppe, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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