Coral Reefs

You’ve probably heard of a coral reef. But do you actually know what a coral reef does and is? Do you know why they are so important? Do you know why there’s such a big fuss over coral reefs? Well the answer to these questions begins with, what are coral reefs?

Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Coral reefs are huge ecosystems that are home to many different organisms ranging from fish, and worms to mollusks, and sponges. Coral reefs take time to form. They form when islands sink and the coral makes a ring around the island. Then more coral grows on top of the old coral and the coral stretches up from the ocean floor.

Well coral reefs are all cool and nice looking and they’re great to look at. But they have an importance. Coral reefs provide a great home for fishes and other creatures. So when there is a huge amount of fishes in a small area then there is a huge profit to be made for fisheries. Well-managed coral reefs have an annual yield of 15 tons of seafood on average per square kilometer. Southeast Asia’s coral reef fisheries alone yield about $ 2.4 billion annually from seafood. This has a huge economic benefit in Asia and if taken away can cripple the Asian economy thus damaging the world economy. Also coral can be sold for high prices and is used in jewelry. Taking this all into consideration the global economic value of coral reefs has been estimated to be between US$ 29.8 billion and 375 billion per year. That’s a lot of money. And now we can begin to see how important coral reefs are.

There is always a big fuss over coral reefs because it is so important economically. Also it is an environmental issue. Coral reefs are dying around the world. In particular, coral mining, agricultural and urban runoff, pollution (organic and inorganic), overfishing, blast fishing, disease, and the digging of canals and access into islands and bays are direct local threats to coral ecosystems. Bigger and more general threats are sea temperature rise, sea level rise and pH changes from ocean acidification, all associated with greenhouse gas emissions. This means that we are destroying these important ecosystems. There have been many efforts to restore coral reefs but they don’t keep up with the rate of destruction. So it is our job to try to limit the destruction of coral reefs.

Coral reefs ties in to what we learn about in class in many ways. First of all coral reefs are an ecosystem which we learned about a few weeks ago. We learned the order of systems to the largest one which was the biosphere. Coral reefs are an ecosystem that houses many different types of organisms. Also coral reefs are sensitive to the pH of the water which surrounds them. And we had just started learning about pH. pH is the acidity of the water and you can use it to determine how acidic or basic a substance is. Also coral reefs live in water. And we learned that water is a unique substance that is essential to life. Coral uses some of the properties of water to survive.

This entry was written by Furqan M. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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