Scientists: Vibrant US marine reserve now a coral graveyard - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scientists: Vibrant US marine reserve now a coral graveyard

(Image: DLNR/File) (Image: DLNR/File)

By SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists found most of the coral is dead in what had been one of the world's most lush and isolated tropical marine reserve.

Researchers finishing an emergency undersea expedition Wednesday described what they called a graveyard of coral around Jarvis Island in the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument.

In November, much of the coral had bleached white but was alive. But scientists say now it is 95 percent dead.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mark Eakin said the culprit is El Nino - the natural warming of parts of the Pacific that changes weather worldwide - assisted by man-made warming. Normally, a unique ocean current brings cold water up from the deep to make that underwater region vibrant with coral, plankton, fish and sharks.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly