Coral reefs are underwater ecosystems characterized by reef-building corals. The reefs are a result of colonies of coral polys held together by calcium carbonate. These reefs protect the coastlines from erosion and also provide jobs for people living within the coastline. They also provide food and medicine as well as providing homes for about a quarter of marine life. Over 850 million people, which amount to about an eighth of the population, depend on marine life.
Currently, about 75% of the world’s reefs are under threat from local and global phenomena. Some of the local threats include coastal development, overfishing, and releasing untreated sewage to streams. Another significant threat to coral reefs in the ever-changing global climate. As sea temperatures rise, it causes coral reefs to bleach and die. Funding grassroots projects to protect this valuable ecosystem is therefore very vital to ensure that the coastal populations enjoy the benefits of reefs.
The Coral Reefs and Marine Life
Coral reefs harbor a diversity of marine life, and that is why they are referred to as the “rainforest of the sea.” Organisms and different types of fishes find food and shelter from the reefs. The reefs also act as a breeding ground for over 7000 species of life in the sea. Many of these coral lives produce defensive chemical compounds, especially those that move slowly. These chemical compounds have proven to be significant in medical research.
Fish that accumulate on coral reels provide an excellent food source for billions of people in the world. Not only those who live by the sea but also those who are far away from the coastlines. Marine life on coral reefs also provides an excellent tourism attraction site since most of them are beautiful with numerous varieties of fish and other marine life. Marine life promotes the local economy by increasing the number of tourists in coastal regions.
Effects of Climate change on Coral Reefs
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to coral reefs and their marine life. According to research, there is scientific evidence that shows the atmosphere and oceans are warming due to the greenhouse effect. This rise in temperature leads to the bleaching of the reefs, which cause outbreaks of diseases within the coastal lines. Furthermore, the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed in the ocean has significantly reduced the calcification rates required for reef-building.
An increase in CO2 in the ocean water decreases the PH, thus affecting the natural chemical composition of water. Furthermore, climate change also affects reefs by increasing the levels of water. As a result, the normal circulation of water is affected, and this influences the ecosystem dramatically. For instance, as the water rises, the coral reefs sink deeper to colder waters. As stated earlier, coral reefs are susceptible to changes, and a change in temperatures influences them.
How to Save The Coral Reefs and Marine Life
No matter your location, some practices can help protect the coral reefs. Most of the threats are from the sea, but the land can also play a role in affecting these reefs. One way to protect these valuable resources is by practicing safety measures while visiting these areas. Ensure that you wear products friendly to the reefs because some sunscreens may affect them. Also, trash needs to be disposed of properly to prevent untreated waste from getting into the seas.
Other ways to reduce effects to seas include reduction of stormwater runoff, using environmentally safe modes of transport, being on the lookout when acquiring marine or aquarium fish among other practices. Spreading the word is very crucial in educating people about coral reefs and how important they are to us. This will make you an advocate of coral reefs. There are different NGOs that you can join and get help in spreading the word to a wider crowd.
How Coral Reefs Are Threatened
Reducing threats on coral is necessary, not just for the reefs but for the marine life living within them. Over 75% of the reefs in the world are currently under threat due to climate change and severe human activities. Carbon is another threat to coral reefs due to the increase in gas emissions to the atmosphere. This increases its percentage absorbed by water, hence reducing PH and bleaching the reefs and also preventing the process of reef generation.
Are Coral Reefs Doomed to Extinction?
The extinction of coral reefs depends on human practices and whether climate change will still be a problem in the future. Reefs are resilient by nature, and this means that they can be recovered if favorable conditions are created. Therefore, this calls for action from different practitioners to curb practices that result in the destruction of reefs. The main problem is reducing the emission of gas to the atmosphere so that the greenhouse effect can be reduced.
What Can You Do to Save the Coral Reefs?
Personal vigilance is crucial to ensure the safety of coral reefs. If you live close to the ocean, several practices can help protect these valuable resources. One thing is to follow the instructions aimed at protecting coral reefs. The coast guard usually provides these instructions. For those using boats, avoid getting close to the reefs to avoid damage by the anchors. Fishers should avoid hunting for rare species or juveniles living within the reefs for future sustenance.
Protecting the reefs is not a task for only those living within the shores. Wherever you are you can protect the coral reefs by doing the following: avoid buying products that are created by destroying coral reefs, advocate for coral reefs, protect policies within your government, and also educating other people about the importance of these coral reefs. You can do this by joining some of the NGOs within your locality that advocate against coral reef destruction.
Conclusion on the Importance of Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are valuable not only to marine life but also to the humans above the sea. However, there is an increasing threat to this ecosystem. It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that the ocean is safe so that we can enjoy the benefits of these coral reefs. Taking care of them ensures that we’ll keep getting food and inspiration to people all over the world and improve the livelihoods of those living within the local areas.