Coral Reefs

How pollution is affecting our oceans

What are Coral reefs?

Coral Reefs are colonies of individual animals called polyps, which are related to sea anemones. The polyps, which have tentacles to feed on plankton at night, play host to zooxanthellae, symbiotic algae that live within their tissues and give the coral its color. The coral provides CO2 and waste products that the algae need for photosynthesis. In turn, the algae nourish the coral with oxygen and the organic products of photosynthesis. The coral uses these compounds to synthesize calcium carbonate (limestone) with which it constructs its skeleton—the coral reef. They are home to about 25% of all marine life.

How are coral reefs affected by pollution?

  • When Fertilizers from land wash into the ocean it causes algae growth,and when algae covers the coral the coral dies.
  • Another danger to the coral is CO2 emissions increase, and its absorbed by the oceans which makes it harder for corals to make their shells because of the increased acidity in the water.
  • Gas emissions from greenhouses are making the water warmer and coral can't live in water much colder or warmer than 78-79 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Sunscreen chemicals, sewage pollution, pesticides all wash into the ocean and poison the coral
  • Cyanide and blast fishing methods also harm and kill coral