Coral Reefs Talk to be Featured at Environmental Meeting
LINCROFT – Dr. Carrie Manfrino, president and director of research and conservation at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI), Little Cayman Island, will discuss the plight of the world’s coral reefs at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at Brookdale Community College.
Manfrino, a recognized expert on corals, that stretch around the world from the Caribbean Sea to Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef, will be speaking at the joint membership meeting of the college’s Environmental Club, the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the N.J. Sierra Club, and the New Jersey Friends of Clearwater.
The meeting is open to the public.
Although coral reefs occupy less than 0.25 percent of the Earth’s marine environment, they are home to about 25 percent of all known marine species, including 800 species of coral and thousands of other plants and animals; more than 25 percent of all known fish species, about 4,000 species at last count, and perhaps another estimated 1 million to 8 million undiscovered species of organisms living in and around coral reefs; and about 10 percent of the world’s commercial fish at some point in their lives.
Reefs also safeguard coastal lives and property during storms; support local maritime economies and tourism; support scientific and medical research for new medications; and play a key role in recycling nitrogen, carbon dioxide and other nutrients.
Yet the species, a key component of the marine food chain, is under siege by global warming, bleaching, acidification, rain runoff that contributes to water pollution, physical destruction, mining, over-fishing, deep-water trawling, natural predators, and cyanide and dynamiting to catch fish.
Although corals are concentrated in tropic waters, they also are found in temperate zones, such as in New Jersey’s bays.
Manfrino, who also teaches at Rutgers University and Kean College, founded the CCMI in 2005 to study how coral reefs can survive despite their environmental degradations.
Manfrino’s presentation is being hosted by Brookdale’s Environmental Club to encourage students to be involved in statewide and national debates on the importance of strong environmental protections. During the meeting, a pizza and subs buffet will begin at 6 p.m.; the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.