Think you're stressed? Ask the coral

By Sandee Davies
Published February 18, 2007

Coral reefs are the "rainforests" of the ocean. They are a source of food and medicine and they protect the coasts from wave erosion.

University of South Florida marine science professor Pamela Hallock Muller will give a lecture at the Science Center on Tuesday about how present and future global climatic changes are threatening coral reefs.

Consider, she says, that coral reefs are home to more than 25 percent of all marine life. More than 35-million acres of coral reefs have been obliterated in the last few decades.

Muller will talk about the problems the coral reefs are facing and what can be done to save them.

"Coral reefs are being destroyed by a wide range of human impacts, from coastal development and overfishing, to fossil fuel burning that is causing global climate change and ocean acidification," she said. "Worldwide decline of coral reefs provides a dramatic example of how activities and decisions that seem to benefit individuals, communities or countries today are diminishing the natural world for all future human generations."

Coral reefs are found in about 100 countries and when they are stressed by high temperature, ultraviolet light or other environmental changes, they lose their symbiotic algal cells, and appear white. A slight rise in maximum water temperatures, only one to two degrees, can stress the corals.

18 Today

Tampa Bay Bridal Show: So he popped the question and your life will never be the same. Now comes the hard part: planning. More than 80 local bridal professionals get together to help your special day a dream, noon-4 p.m., the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $2. Call 893-8523.

19 Monday

Water Craft: Exhibition of crafts that are created with water, use water or have a water theme, on display 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday, when hours are noon to 6 p.m. Through April 5. Third floor gallery, the Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. "Water Craft" is a part of "A Celebration of Water," a three-month program at the Pier Aquarium with a "Water Images, Water Words" exhibit and other water events. Free. Call 895-7437.

20 Tuesday

Theatre Pipe Organ Concert: 11:30 a.m., Pinellas Park City Auditorium, 7690 59th St. N. Bring lunch and enjoy the music. Free. Call 546-0564 or 541-0770.

21 Wednesday

Children of the World Choir: Fifteen orphaned and disadvantaged children from India, Uganda, Brazil and the Philippines perform, 7 p.m., Northside Baptist Church, 6000 38th Ave. N., St. Petersburg. The concert features several songs in English and native dialects, stirring personal testimonies and a video presentation. Free. Call 381-3642.

22 Thursday

Land And People, Conversations About Florida: What does it mean to have a sense of place and how does the natural landscape influence notion of place? This conversation centers on the value of natural environments and communities, raising challenging questions in the face of Florida's burgeoning development, 7 p.m., Studio@620 620 First Ave., S., St. Petersburg. Donations accepted. Call 895-6620.

Flea Market: Get a special preview of all the treasures offered at a two-day sale, 5-7 p.m., the Garden Club of St. Petersburg, 500 Sunset Drive S, St. Petersburg. A $5 admission to the preview features free snacks. The sale runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday and lunch is available to purchase. A variety of items for sale include collectibles, clothing, housewares, plants, books, jewelry, furniture and antiques. Call 381-8920.

23 Friday

Drive In Movie: St. Luke's United Methodist Church shows the Disney-Pixar movie Cars at 6 p.m. at an outdoor showing, 4444 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Bring a blanket or a lounge chair. In the event of rain movie will be shown inside. Free. Call 321-1335.

24 Saturday

Battle of Ballast Point: The 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Reenactor Regiment holds an American Civil War weekend encampment 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today-Sunday, Fort Desoto Park on Tierra Verde. Participants depict both Union and Confederate infantry, artillery, cavalry and civilians. The battle occurs at 1:30 p.m. each day. Free. Call 430-8136.

Florida African American Heritage Celebration: Enjoy a free family event that highlights African-American culture through live music, dance, storytelling, art and more, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Pinewood Cultural Park, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Call 588-6342.

Sea Blues Fest: Enjoy fresh seafood and great music at the Seafood and Blues festival, noon-10 p.m. today and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, Coachman Park, 101 Drew St., Clearwater. Features Johnny Winter Chris Beard, Coco Montoya, Tinsley Ellis Eric Lindell and Eric Sardinas. Free. Food vendors. Call 562-4839.

The Big Bands are Back: The Coliseum swings with the Village Big Band, 7-11 p.m. $14 in advance and $16 at the door. Call 892-5202.

Lakes and Ponds Day 2007: Learn how to identify native plant species around ponds and yards, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Educational materials and breakfast items provided. Free native plants and other door prizes. Call 453-6500.

25 Sunday

Exotic Bird Adoption Day: Dozens of exotic birds from parakeets to cockatoo and everything in between will be looking for new loving homes, noon-5 p.m., Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 9099 130th Avenue North in Largo. Safe Haven Avian Placement Services fosters the birds and provides rescue, education, and permanent placement services. Potential adopters should be able to commit several hours a day to interaction with the birds. Information: www.SPCATampaBay.org or 586-3591.

If you go

Coral reef lecture

What: Coral Reefs in the 21st Century - Is the Past the Key to the Future?

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Science Center of Pinellas County, 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg.

Information: Call 471-0699 or 384-0027 or check the Web at www.stpeteaudubon.org.