Destruction of Coral Reefs

From pollution to overfishing, our coral reefs are in danger

Coral Reefs and Their Importance

Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems created by small groups of special fish. They get corals and put them together with calcium carbonate. These coral reefs are important to our lives and to the ocean’s ecosystem. They provide almost 80 percent of our oxygen. They also keep sharks off the shores so your trip to the beach is safe and peaceful. They clean the ocean and they give habitats to many different species of fish. Not only do the coral reefs provide for the animals, they're also used by humans like us. They have been used in medicine to fight off diseases and provide food and resources for people.We need to protect these reefs they are important to us.

Sedimentation

Sedimentation is another destroyer of our reefs. Erosion caused by construction , mining, logging, and farming is leading to more sediment in rivers. This ends up in the ocean, where it can build up over coral reefs cutting off sunlight which is a key factor in corals survival. The erosion mucks up the water and coral can only survive in clear water.

Overfishing

Coral reefs are such an overlooked ecosystem and we’re slowly destroying coral reefs without knowing it. People are heavily overfishing coral reefs which causes key species of fish to die and decrease biodiversity which allows algae to grow. This causes the corals to not be able to continue with their process of photosynthesis which kills them. We need to stop overfishing these animals because at the rate we’re fishing off the coral reefs, all coral reefs will be gone between 20-30 years from now.


Pollution

Pollution is a very big cause to destruction of coral reefs. Pollution can be from trash that is being dumped into landfills or straight into the ocean. It can also be from run-off (fertilizers and other chemicals). If chemicals are released into the ocean it can kill or bleach the coral and other plants. In this case, the bleaching of coral is when the tissue of the coral reef turns white meaning that all the algae (zooxanthellae) has left the coral leaving it without any food (glucose). Bleaching of corals is usually caused by runoff and pollution which usually contains harmful chemicals and fertilizers. These chemicals can speed up the process of bleaching at 3 times the rate it's suppose to. Pollution can also decrease the amount of oxygen in the water and cause an increase of nutrients in the water. This will cause to much algae to grow on the coral making it harder to carry out the process of photosynthesis. Pollution is a huge factor and we need to take control of it before it gets out of hand.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are a major threat to Coral reefs. They eat the native species and they have no predator so they can eat and reproduce without worry. They destroy natural food chains that take care of the reefs killing the coral. A great example of an invasive species destroying coral reefs is the Lionfish. In the Atlantic Ocean and off the coast of Florida Lionfish are destroying the reefs and native species.

Coral reef fish danger - Blue Planet - BBC Environment

Statistics and Facts about the Coral Reef

  • Properly managed coral reefs can yield an average of 15 tonnes of fish and other seafood per square kilometer each year
  • More than 80% of the world's shallow reefs are severely over-fished
  • Occupying less than one quarter of 1% of the marine environment, coral reefs are home to more than 25% of all known marine fish species
  • 58% of the world's coral reefs are potentially threatened by human activity
  • We have already lost 27% of the world's coral reefs. If present rates of destruction are allowed to continue, 60% of the world's coral reefs will be destroyed over the next 30 years
  • More than 450 million people live within 60 kilometres of coral reefs, with the majority directly or indirectly deriving food and income from them

How we can protect and preserve our coral reefs

Some ways that we can help and support the coral reefs are by donating money to organizations that work very hard to keep the reefs out of danger and clean. A few other ways we can contribute is by; conserving water, reducing pollution, use ecological or organic fertilizers, proper disposal of wastes, supporting reef friendly businesses, volunteer for a coral reef cleanup, practice safe and responsible snorkeling and diving, and spread the word about how coral reefs are in danger. We need to take action and protect our coral reefs before they are gone.