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10 coral species may be extinct within 50 years

London: Biologists have identified at least 10 coral species which they claim may become extinct in the next 50 years.

A team at London Zoo has made the list of the 10 globally endangered species coral species under the Edge Coral Reefs project which claims the species would die out by 2060, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Among those singled out as urgently in need of conservation are the crisp pillow coral, which resembles a brain, and the elegance coral, which has glowing tubular tentacles, say the biologists.

Current worst case predictions suggest that tropical coral reefs, which have evolved over millions of years, will be functionally extinct within the next 30 to 50 years. Saving these species could hold the key to the future adaptation of coral reefs to climate change, the biologists say.

The other species prioritised include are the pearl bubble coral, which is a favoured food source of the hawksbill turtle, and the Mushroom coral, which supports at least 15 brightly coloured shrimp including the popcorn shrimp.

The species are found in some of the world`s most famous coral reefs, from the Great Barrier Reef to the waters surrounding the Chagos Archipelago. The prehistoric ecosystems have been around for 400 million years and support one third of all marine life.

Dr Heather Koldewey of London Zoo said: "Corals are one of the most threatened groups of animals on our planet and iconic flagships of the marine environment. Edge Coral Reefs will focus on improving the resilience of the world`s most diverse coral species, ensuring our coral reefs flourish in the future.

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