5 Aug 2020 - Sharks are rarely seen at almost one in five of the world's coral reefs, finds a study, due largely to over-fishing.
The crash in shark numbers, caused largely by over-fishing, could have dire consequences for corals struggling to survive in a changing climate, researchers have said.
Sharks are top predators, playing a key role in marine ecosystems.
They did best in places where shark fishing was controlled, or where marine sanctuaries had been created.
Dr Mike Heithaus of Florida International University, US, said: "At a time when corals are struggling to survive in a changing climate, losing reef sharks could have dire long-term consequences for entire reef systems."
The research, published in the journal Nature, and part of the Global FinPrint study, reveals widespread loss of reef sharks across much of the world's tropical oceans.
Species such as grey reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, and Caribbean reef sharks were often missing from reefs where they would historically have been found.
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