The Degradation of Coral Reefs
There are numerous reports on coral reef degradation including the article I found called “Study finds Caribbean Corals in Dire Trouble”. Coral reefs, not only in the Caribbean, but world wide have been damaged losing their ecological resilience. Having seen Coral reefs while snorkeling in Hawaii, coral reefs are arguably the world’s most beautiful habitats. Coral reefs have been called the rainforest of the oceans because of their rich diversity of life they support. There are thousands of different species of plants and animals that use or live in the coral reefs. There are three types of coral reefs: fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls. Fringing reefs are located close to shore, separated from land by only shallow water. Barrier reefs lie farther offshore, separated from land by lagoons. Atolls, on the other hand, are formed far offshore and they make a ring-shaped reef that close a circular lagoon. Coral reefs are the largest biological structures on the planet. The largest structure is the Great Barrier Reef covering over 2,000 kilometers along the east coast of Australia. The reef is said to be 500,000 to 2,500,000 years old.
Besides global warming there is another problem with this beautiful structure and that is the result of several local natural and human factors such as over fishing. Silt from deforested lands and pollution from crowded coastlines choke them, and overuse and destroy coral reefs. There are many other factors which if they are not stopped it will destroy all coral reefs.
Corals are animals, not plants; sunlight is the key to their survival. They need it to power the millions of microscopic algae, called zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues. The algae provides the corals with food and oxygen in return for raw materials and a secure place to live. This teamwork is what allows the reef to survive in nutrient-poor
tropical seas. This relationship is sensitive to such changes...