Cozumel, Mexico – July 2015
Smithe’s mural addresses the relationship between the local people, the coral reefs, and native marine species of the Yucatan peninsula.
Over the last 50 years, Caribbean coral reefs have suffered enormous declines in live coral cover. On average, coral cover on reefs of the region has dropped from about 50-60% to less than 15% today. A mixture of sponges, algae and bare substrate now occupies the vacated space. The causes of these widespread declines in reef “health” remain contested, although there is nearly unanimous agreement that the leading suspect is coral disease – ultimately stemming from human impacts. Declining water quality, extensive coastal development, overfishing, and direct and indirect tourism impacts are all believed to have contributed to conditions favoring the growth and spread of coral diseases.
You can help save coral reefs by: