Climate change is one of two principal factors (the other is overfishing) being sited in the first-ever listing of ocean corals in the annual report of wildlife going extinct from the IUCN (World Conservation Union).

The group’s 2007 “Red List,” released in September, lists two corals ñ Floreana coral (Tubastraea floreana) and Wellington’s solitary coral (Rihzopsammia wellingtoni) as “critically endangered.” A third, Polycyathus isabela, is listed as being vulnerable.

Trying to dispel what he sees as a tendency of people to think of land-based, but not marine, species, as being vulnerable to extinction, a Conservation International vice president says “we increasingly realize that marine biodiversity is also faced with serious environmental threat.”

An Old Dominion University marine researcher said the three Galapagos corals and algae are the first of many marine species to be added to the group’s “Red List”. Climate change and overfishing “are the likely causes in these cases,” he said in a statement. Press contact: Lisa Bailey at (703)341-2602 or by e-mail.