10 Treasures We’ll Lose as Sea Levels Rise

The Island of Mozambique
The Chapel of Santo Antonio sits on the southern end of the Island of Mozambique. John Seaton Callahan/Flickr Open/Getty Images

Originally inhabited by natives of the Bantu tribe and later in the 10th century by Arab settlers, the island of Mozambique (off the coast of the African country of Mozambique) rose to prominence as a Portuguese trading outpost on the route to India. Today, it's known as much for its enchanting beaches, spectacular coral reef and vibrant blue waters as it is for its centuries-old fortress and various religious buildings. The city is considered a strong example of architectural unity, given that islanders have relied on the same techniques and materials since the 16th century [sources: UNESCO, Lonely Planet].

Climate change not only threatens the island, its people and its architecture, but also many of the creatures that call the waters surrounding Mozambique home. Sea turtles, for example, time their reproduction cycles to sea temperatures that ensure an adequate ratio of male and female offspring. The higher the temperature, the more likely a turtle is to produce females. Scientists fear that changes in water temperatures will throw off the cycle, leading to a scarcity of males and choking off further reproduction [sources: IOP Science, Warne].