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Efforts Underway to Protect Coral in Japan's Colder Waters

Global warming is a threat to coral in colder seas off Japan's coasts. A research institute has teamed up with WWF Japan to protect the coral communities.

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Coral and divers off the coast of Tosashimizu City in Kochi Prefecture (Photo courtesy of Kuroshio Biological Research Institute).

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - Efforts Underway to Protect Coral in Japan's Colder Waters

Corals scattered in seas with relatively low temperatures at higher latitudes in Japan, such as in Honshu and Shikoku, are facing damage from global warming. Even areas that are home to over 100 species of corals are not as well known as the coral reefs in warmer seas like Okinawa. As a result, conservation efforts are inadequate.

Researchers and environmental groups have begun to bolster conservation efforts for corals in colder seas, using surveys conducted by the public as a springboard.

Threatened Coral Communities

Coral in Japan is divided into two types, with Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture as the dividing line.

Coral found north of the line is called high-latitude coral. It does not form reefs like those commonly seen to the south. Rather, it is distributed in so-called 'communities'.

coral
Coral community off the coast of Ainan Town in Ehime Prefecture (Photo courtesy of Kuroshio Biological Research Institute).

The northern limits of coral are in the Pacific Ocean off Chiba Prefecture and off Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture in the Sea of Japan.

The Kuroshio Biological Research Institute and WWF Japan are working on an initiative to protect the cold-water coral.

Coral community off the coast of Mugi Town in Tokushima Prefecture (Photo courtesy of Kuroshio Biological Research Institute).

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth.

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(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun