Coral Reefs Essay Paper

Published: 2021-09-13 07:40:08
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Coral Reefs Review of the Literature What are Coral Reefs? Coral reefs are said to be the foundation for many marine species, and are a crucial support for human life. The coral reef ecosystem is an a diverse collection of species that interact with each other and the physical environment. Coral reefs are the homes of many species including crabs, shrimp, oysters, and clams, foods eaten by humans on a daily basis. Coral reefs are among the most diverse and biologically complex ecosystems on earth, supporting 33% of marine fish species.
Research has shown that there exist a host of dangers for these precious species that are living in our very oceans and alongside our seashores, and these are some pertinent questions that need to be addressed in order to establish whether coral reefs are needed for our future existence and to global warming: 1. The habitat of the coral reef? 2. Environmental problems presently facing the habitat 3. What is coral bleaching? 4. Coral bleaching and our global environment?
Corals in Crisis The habitat of the Coral Reef According to Dustan, “Since the late 1970s, reefs across the world have been dying at an unprecedented rate, and it only seems to be getting worse. Dustan points out that in the Florida Keys alone extensive reef monitoring studies conducted by the EPA and other agencies have shown that the reefs lost more than 38% of their living coral cover from 1996 to 1999. Carysfort Reef lost over 90% of its coral cover from 1974 to 1999. The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, the single largest coral reef monitoring effort in the world, reported in October 2000 at the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium in Bali, Indonesia, that of all the reefs they monitor worldwide, 27 percent have been lost and another 32 percent could be lost in the next 20-30 years (Pockley 2000). Coral Reefs and our Environment The coral bleaching response to climate change first appeared on the policy stage in the summer of 1987, coincident with a major international episode of bleaching, increasing concern about global warming, and one of the warmest years on record in Washington, DC.
Coral Reef Thesis Statement
The Senate held hearings on coral bleaching and testimony reported preliminary scientific evidence that linked bleaching with unusually warm seasonal seawater temperatures. Corals bleach when stresses, including high temperatures, stimulate the coral animal to expel its intra-cellular single-celled plant symbionts, which are characteristic of all reef-building corals and critical to coral health. As the color of corals is determined in large part by the plant cells, the corals appear to bleach.
Bleaching does not immediately kill corals and they are capable of recovery if the stress is removed, but if it is prolonged corals may die. Coral Bleaching and Our Global Environment Human activities influence coral reefs in a variety of ways, but the general categories of disturbances make a remarkably short list: 1. Climate change including ocean warming, sea level rise, and increased atmospheric CO2.. 2. Land-based sources of pollution, including land destabilization and sedimentation, sewage disposal, toxic pollution, and pathogens. 3.
Over-fishing, including both the consequences of removal of fishes from reefs and the damage of fishing techniques and gears. Climate change is the only global influence in the list and is the umbrella under which all other stresses to reefs operate. Land-based sources of pollution are both regional and local. For example, a significant proportion of marine pollution is aerosols and runoff originating far from the ocean. Over-fishing is largely a local problem and responds to relatively simple if not easily implemented management regimes.
Finally, note that these disturbances are characteristic not only of coral reefs but any coastal ocean area near human populations, according to Ogden. (2002) Coral bleaching isn’t the only detrimental effect of climate change on coral reefs. Prolonged seasonally warm temperatures stress corals and can increase the growth rate of the potentially pathogenic microorganisms responsible for coral diseases. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere lowers the saturation state of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the ocean.
This has been shown to decrease coral reef calcification and may over time be an even more important factor than bleaching in the global adjustment of coral reefs to climate change as stated in Ogden’s research at Florida Institute of Oceanography. (2002) In summary, the world beneath sea is still a mystery for many of us. It’s an entirely different world, the beauty of the ocean’s creatures, plants, vegetation, coral reefs are precisely a pleasant sight.
The beautiful coral reefs known and loved by the entire world are rapidly moving towards their extinction due to certain disturbance in the earth’s climate. Considered as one of the richest sources for biodiversity; coral reefs are of numerous usages to mankind but unfortunately they are also one of the most abandoned marine animals. Not only did they benefit the sea creatures that inhabit them but also the environment and people by providing them • Provide abundance of food and medicine material for research work. • Protect coast from wave impact and storms. Tourist attraction. The extinction of coral reefs will have a disastrous effect on population that relies on them, mostly the fish and other marine creature that depend completely on reefs for their survival. Moreover, it would leave the seashore open to the effects of storm surges and may result in revenue loss from tourism. References Dustan, P. , 1999: Testimony Presentation on Coral Reef Conservation Issues at the Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Oceans and Fisheries. Washington, DC. Coral Reefs under Multiple Stresses in an Era of Climate Change:
John C. Ogden; Director, Florida Institute of Oceanography Professor of Biology, University of South Florida Pockley, P. , 2000: Global Warming Identified as Main Threat to Coral Reefs. Nature, 407 (6807), 932. Coral Reefs under Multiple Stresses in an Era of Climate Change: John C. Ogden; Director, Florida Institute of Oceanography Professor of Biology, University of South Florida Karan Singh, V. (2008, August 23). Coral Reef Dilemma!. Retrieved September 8, 2008, from http://ezinearticles. com/? Coral-Reef-Dilemma! &id=1435286

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