MORE than three-quarters of the coral off the Alicante province coast has been affected by climate change.
The Institute of Coastal Ecology and the Spanish government’s Environment Ministry are analysing the effects of higher sea temperatures in coastal areas of Valencian Community and Baleares.
These include the Ifach zone, as well as the Sierra Helada marine reserve, the Marina Baja, Cabo de las Huertas and Tabarca. Last summer scientists studied 307 colonies of cushion coral and Oculina patagonica and their findings revealed that 78% of corals are affected by climate change in a process that has resulted in bleaching.
Although corals can survive bleaching, they are under more stress and subject to mortality, the experts said. Alicante’s provincial council, the Diputacion has forged close links with the Institute of Coastal Ecology over the past year, said Miguel Angel Sanchez, who heads its Environment department.
“It’s essential that the public administrations and society should take measures that will contribute to fighting climate change which, as this project shows, is seriously affecting our marine environment,” Sanchez said.