這項研究發表在《倫敦皇家學會會報B》(Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B)的最新議題中，內容含有一組包含人口密度、海岸開發、農地利用和環境與生態的社經資料庫。這些數據涵蓋了溫度、颶風、生產率、珊瑚疾病和豐富的珊瑚資源等資訊。
Coral reefs in the Caribbean are being degraded by human activities - coastal development, fishing, pollution, and agricultural land use - according to a new study of 322 sites across 13 countries throughout the region.
"The continuing degradation of coral reefs may be soon beyond repair, if threats are not identified and rapidly controlled," said author Camilo Mora at Dalhousie University, Halifax. "In the Caribbean alone, these losses are endangering a large number of species, from corals to sharks, and jeopardizing over four billion dollars in services worth from fisheries, tourism and coastal protection."
"The future of coral reefs in the Caribbean and the services they provide to a growing human population depend on how soon countries in the region become seriously committed to regulating human threats," Mora said.
Published in the current issue of the "Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B," the study includes a comprehensive set of socioeconomic databases on human population density, coastal development, agricultural land use as well as environmental and ecological databases. The data cover temperature, hurricanes, productivity, coral diseases and richness of corals.
Through statistical analysis, Mora‘s study shows that the number of people living near coral reefs is the main driver of the mortality of corals, loss of fish biomass and increases in macroalgae abundance.
Macroscopic algae, commonly referred to as macroalgae or seaweeds, are large plant like structures commonly found in coastal waters worldwide. An excess of macroalgae can decrease oxygen levels in the water when the algae die and decompose.
Mora's comparative analysis of different human impacts revealed that the area of cultivated land, with its discharges of agricultural chemicals to coral reefs, was the main driver of increases in macroalgae in the Caribbean.