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Michael Parks

Coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate.

It is possible that coral is being killed by human diseases. Indeed, humans may be passing forms of cholera and other human infections which are slowly destroying the coral reefs.

Scientists have been studying the coral reefs off the Gulf of Mexico and have discovered an increase in the number of coral infections. In 1996, researchers found sickly reefs in twenty four places. By 1998 this number had increased to over one hundred.

Coral reefs are also dying at an alarming rate. In one case, a reef had lost more than one third of its coral in three years. Professor James Porter said, ‘As we went back through our data, we saw an alarming trend.’

Many coral diseases have not been fully identified yet but in the meantime they have been given names such as ‘bleaching’, ‘white plague’, ‘white pox’ and ‘black band’. Professor Porter says: ‘These are the cries and whispers which, when you look at the ocean carefully and really think about what is going on, begin to affront you with the dangers that lie ahead.’

At the moment, very little is understood about the diseases harming the coral. What is known is that the diseases are most common in areas where there is human development. Coral bleaching may be caused by global warming, which is caused by humans. It is possible that the coral bleaching may in turn be making the coral susceptible to other human diseases.

Scientists have to understand the diseases in order to cure the sick corals before they disappear for ever.

Source: English Digest


is being killed: esté siendo destruído
diseases: enfermedades humanas
cholera: cólera
slowly destroying: destruyendo lentamente
coral reefs:
los arrecifes (bancos) de coral
off the: fuera de
increase: incremento, aumento
researchers: los investigadores
sickly reefs: arrecifes enfermizos
to over:
a más de
at an alarming rate: a una velocidad alarmante
went back: regresábamos a verificar
an alarming trend: una tendencia alarmante
fully identified yet: totalmente identificados aún
in the meantime:
mientras tanto

bleaching: blanqueo, decoloración
white pox: viruela blanca
black band: banda negra
cries and whispers: gritos y susurros
what is going on: qué está ocurriendo
affront: atropellar, hacer frente
is understood: se comprende, se entiende
harming: que dañan a
what is known: lo que sí se conoce
human development: urbanización, desarrollo humano
susceptible: sensible, propenso
sick corals: corales enfermos
for ever: para siempre



Read the article again and find the answers to the following questions. Then check your answers here.

1. How quickly is the problem of the reefs growing?

2. What does Professor Porter think we should get angry about?

3. How do humans affect the problem?

4. Why is coral bleaching a particular problem?

5. What are scientists working on now?