Coral Reefs and Protection of Coastlines Worldwide are Focus of Research Published May 14, 2014

A study conducted by an international team of researchers and published in May 2014 found that coral reefs provide an important protective barrier for the world’s developing coastal communities that are facing increased storm activity and flooding.  According to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) news release on the study (one of the co-authors is at the USGS’ Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center), the researchers’ key findings were the following: “Coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy by an average of 97 percent (studies across all tropical oceans); [t]he reef crest, or shallowest part of the reef where the waves break first, dissipates 86 percent of wave energy on its own; [and the] median cost for building artificial breakwaters is…$19,791 [U.S. dollars] per meter, compared to $1,290 per meter for coral reef restoration projects” [emphasis in original].  The research article is “The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation,” by Filippo Ferrario et al., Nature Communications 5, May 13, 2014; journal Web site: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/index.html.

Source: Coral Reefs are Critical for Risk Reduction & Adaptation, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 5/13/14.

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