LINCROFT, NJ - Dr. Carrie Manfrino, president and director of Research and Conservation at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI), Little Cayman Island, will discuss the plight of the world’s coral reefs that range around the world from the Caribbean Sea to Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef at 6 pm Monday, Feb. 24, at Brookdale Community College

Dr. Manfrino, a recognized expert on corals, is speaking at the joint membership meeting of the college’s Environmental Club, the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the NJ Sierra Club, and the N.J. Friends of Clearwater. The meeting is open to the public at BCC’s Lincroft campus.

Although coral reefs occupy less than 0.25 percent of the Earth's marine environment, they are home to about 25 percent of all known marine species, including 800 species of coral and thousands of other plants and animals; more than 25 percent of all known fish species, about 4,000 species at last count, and perhaps another estimated 1 to 8 million undiscovered species of organisms living in and around coral reefs; and about 10 percent of the world’s commercial fish at some point in their lives.

They also safeguard coastal lives and property during storms; support local maritime economies and tourism; support scientific and medical research for new medications; and play a key role in recycling nitrogen, carbon dioxide (CO2), and other nutrients.

Yet the species, a key component of the marine food chain, is under siege by global warming, bleaching, acidification, rain runoff that contributes to water pollution, physical destruction, mining, over-fishing, deep-water trawling, natural predators, and cyanide and dynamiting to catch fish.

Although corals are concentrated in tropic waters around the world from the Caribbean Sea to Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef they, they also are found in temperate zones, such as in New Jersey’s bays.

Dr. Manfrino, who also teaches at Rutgers University and Kean College, founded the CCMI in 2005 to study how coral reefs can survive despite their environmental degradations.

The CCMI’s research projects for this important habitat include reef resiliency, over-fishing, coral fluorescence, deep and shallow reef connectivity, and threats from invasive species.

Dr. Manfrino’s presentation is hosted by Brookdale’s Environmental Club to encourage students to be involved in statewide and national debates on the importance of strong environmental protections. At the Lincroft meeting, a pizza and subs buffet begins at 6:00 p.m. and the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.

To get to Brookdale’s Lincroft campus, take Parkway Exit 109 to Route 520 West (Newman Springs Road, which becomes E. Main Street at the Lincroft campus). Take the traffic circle into the campus and follow the signs to the Warner Student Life Center (SLC) and parking lot 7, where the meeting will be in the SLC Twin Lights Rooms 1 and 2. Use parking lot 7. As you walk eastward towards the building complex, Warner will be on your left. If lot 7 is full, use parking lots 5 or 6. A campus map is at .