Destroyed coral reef as result of dynamite fishing, the Philippines.
Anthropogenic fluxes are causing the destruction of these systems. Defining and Understanding Coral and the Coral Reef 2. The Destruction of Coral Reefs 3.
The Negative Effects of this Destruction 4. Sources This organism is one species of coral polyp. Defining and Understanding Coral and the Coral Reef In order to understand exactly why human actions have had such a dramatic effect on coral reefs, it is necessary to understand what coral and coral reefs are and to know a little bit about how reefs form.
This knowledge will also help you to understand why coral reefs are so valuable to humans and why their destruction should be prevented. Though these two terms are intrinsically related, they are not to be interchangeably.
Coral is actually a tiny animal that looks like an upside-down jellyfish; It is in the same family as a jellyfish, classified as a benthic cnidarian.
There are hundreds of species of corals, divided into two general categories, soft corals and hard corals. Soft Corals are treelike and flexible. Hard corals are the reef building corals we are most familiar with.
Corals form the Structure of a Coral Reef: When polyps die, new ones land and form right on top of them. The physical structure of each coral reef is formed by millions of coral polyp shells. These colonies form the environment for all the organisms that thrive in coral reefs.
Coral, essentially, is the building block which enables all other reef life to survive. Life in a Coral Reef: The term coral reef refers to a system composed not only of corals and the physical structure their remains provide, but also of thousands and thousands of living organisms: Zooxanthellae is an algae essential to the survival of coral reefs.
They live inside coral and share a symbiotic relationship with them. Zooxanthellae provide oxygen and other nutrients to the coral polyps and the polyps give the algae the carbon dioxide they need to survive. Zooxanthellae also give coral its beautiful color. Without Zooxanthellae, Coral have clear bodies and white skeletons.
The Formation of the Reef: Coral Reefs require specific conditions to thrive. They form in shallow depths of less than 27 meters clear water where the sunlight can easily reach them.
This is important because the zooxanthellae need sunlight to perform photosynthesis.
They require a fairly narrow range of temperatures between about 20 and 30 degrees Celsius which is why they form in warm geographic regions. Almost all reefs grow in shallow waters bordering land, making them very vulnerable to anthropogenic fluxes. The Necessity of Coral to the Coral Reef: Though coral reefs are not composed solely of coral, the survival of the organisms in the reef habitat is dependent above all on the survival of the coral formations.
When the health of the coral is threatened, the existence of every other species is threatened, too. The destruction of coral is leading to the endangerment and extinction of thousands of other species.
The Destruction of Coral Reefs Coral reefs are being destroyed by anthropogenic fluxes in their environment. Fishing Humans destroy coral reefs directly through unfriendly fishing habits. Many coral reefs are overfished, destroying their sustainability. In other areas, practices like cyanide fishing and blast fishing destroy reefs.
Cyanide fishing is a method in which divers squirt cyanide into reef crevices and onto fish, stunning them and making them easy to catch.
Small organisms, especially coral polyps, are killed by the cyanide in this process.
Blast fishing, in which explosives or gun shots are sent into the reefs, can completely destroy the reef structure.How Pollution Affects Coral Reefs In the coming years, remote coral reef ecosystems will be impacted primarily by global environmental changes.
Reefs in close proximity to human populations, however, will also be faced with local stresses, including poor water quality from land-based sources of pollution. Watch video · Coral reefs are more than just exotic displays of color on the sea bed. The National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of the NOAA, placed their value for U.S.
fisheries at $ million.
Climate change and our Great Barrier Reef. Climate change is considered the most significant threat to our Great Barrier Reef. Mass coral bleaching events due to rising ocean temperatures occurred in the summers of , and , and it is expected that coral bleaching will .
Threats to Coral Reefs Despite the importance of coral reefs, these wildlife habitats are imperiled throughout the world. A recent report estimated that 75 percent of remaining coral reefs are currently threatened, and many have already been lost. This law would also protect the coral in the coral reefs because it would keep people out of the coral reefs more, and it would allow the fish to reform the symbiosis of the coral and fish.
To rid the coral reefs of pollution, I would not allow the cities along the coral reefs to use plastic bags. Coral reefs around the world have been in decline for decades and the causes are numerous – from pollution and human-caused destruction to bleaching events that occur when ocean temperatures rise.