27 Jan 2011

Fear of coral damage in American Samoa

8:46 am on 27 January 2011

It's predicted climate change will kill or cause a major decline of coral reefs in American Samoa.

Coordinators of a climate change summit in the territory next week are hoping to make the public aware of the negative impacts of changing weather conditions.

The summit will include 110 participants - among them coastal zone managers, policy makers, scientists and students.

Coral reef scientist, Dr Doug Fenner, says there's a serious threat to the reefs from global warming.

"We call it bleaching. They turn white and then they die if it's too hot. It's driven because the corals can't stand high temperatures, when the waters get too hot it kills them. And the water temperatures here and around the Tropics are all slowly rising. It's only one degree higher than a normal Summer temperature that's enough to turn them white - one more degree beyond that and it kills them."