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Dredging near reefs increases coral disease: Study

Published on Jul 17, 2014 1:24 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Dredging activity near reefs can more than double the frequency of diseases affecting corals by impacting the light and food they need to survive, a study showed on Thursday.

While scientists have known for decades that dredging can smother corals, researchers said this was the first time it has been linked to diseases.

"Corals require both light and food to survive," said marine scientist Joe Pollock, who led the study for the Australian Research Council's Coral Reef Studies Centre of Excellence.

"And unfortunately, dredging impacts corals on two fronts: increased turbidity means less light for photosynthesis, while increased levels of sediment falling onto the coral can interfere with their ability to feed."

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