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Coral in the Caribbean has declined by 80 per cent over the past three decades, according to a new study.

Researchers from the UK's University of East Anglia compiled data from studies covering more than 260 separate sites across the Caribbean, and found that average hard coral cover had dropped from 50 per cent to 10 per cent.

They write in this week's Science Express that there is no evidence that climate change is responsible for the dramatic rate of loss. It is more likely that both natural factors, such as disease and hurricanes, and human-related factors, such as over-fishing and habitat destruction, are to blame.

Link to BBC Online news story