Save Coral reefs & it's inhabitants

Here's how YOU can help!

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Coral reefs: What are they?

Corals are ancient animals related to jellyfish and anemones. An individual coral is called a polyp, a polyp is a very small and simple organism consisting mostly of a stomach topped by a tentacle-bearing mouth. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish.

How many animals live in or on coral reefs?

Think of how big this world is, about how much water there is in this world. Now, think how many of the animals in the world are aquatic. Out of the 8.7 million species estimated to be living on earth 2.2 million of them live in the oceans. About one-third of all marine species live at least part of their life in or on coral reefs. The reefs in the Florida Keys, for example, hold at least 45 species of stony coral, 37 species of octocoral, five species of sea turtles, 500 species of fish, about 1,700 species of mollusks and hundreds of species of sponges, that’s over 2,200 species and that’s only in one small area of the world.

Where are they located?

Coral reefs are located in tropical oceans near the equator.

Why do we, as human's, need Coral reefs?

Coral reefs are often called “rainforests of the sea” But what about what the reefs do for us, humans, we need coral reefs because they protect coastlines from storms and provide billions of dollars of food and jobs every year to people around the world. We eat a lot of animals that live in and on corals too. Not only do these fish increase the diversity of our world, but also reef fish and mollusks feed between 30 and 40 million people every year. They also make beautiful pets and the money made by catching and selling these animals provides many people with an income so that they can feed their families.

What species live on the reefs?

The coral provides shelter for many animals in this complex habitat, including sponges, nudibranchs, fish (like Blacktip Reef Sharks, groupers, clown fish, eels, parrotfish, snapper, and scorpion fish), jellyfish, anemones, sea stars (including the destructive Crown of Thorns), crustaceans (like crabs, shrimp, and lobsters), turtles, sea snakes, snails, and mollusks (like octopuses, nautilus, and clams). Not only do we eat coral reef animals, birds do too.

What types of pollution are causing coral reefs to die and how are they affecting the coral reefs?

Climate Change, Pollution, Overfishing and Blast Fishing, Disease Outbreaks, and Oil Spills. Oil and the chemicals sometimes used to disperse oil can harm corals, causing death or limiting the coral's ability to grow, reproduce, and produce energy from photosynthesis (using its symbiotic algae). Land-based pollution sources are the primary cause of coral degradation throughout the world. For example, in the Caribbean approximately 80% ocean pollution comes from activities on land.

How do overfishing and destructive fishing affect coral reefs?

Over 55% of the worlds reefs are threatened by over fishing and/or destructive fishing. Southeast Asia is one of the more threatened regions, nearly 95% of their reefs are affected.

How can you help save coral reefs?

There are so many ways for YOU to help in your everyday life. You can conserve water by taking baths, instead of showers or take short showers. Instead of driving you car to work or school, take a bus, ride your bike, or carpool. If you use fertilizer, use organic fertilizers. Dispose of your trash properly, if it's cardboard, plastic, or glass put it in the recycle bin, if not then just put it in the regular trash. If you like snorkeling or diving, use a reef-safe sunscreen and do not touch the coral. If possible, volunteer for a reef clean up crew and if you live close enough to any coral reefs and there isn't a reef clean up group where you live make one! Contact your government representatives and spread the world using anything you can get your hands on.

Replacing coral?

My parents recently went to Maui, when they were there they found out about a program they have started in Maui. The program helps rebuild coral reefs by growing coral on hard surfaces such as rocks, bricks, wood, and cement blocks. When they feel that the coral is ready to be placed on another coral reef they then place them on a coral reef suffering from pollution.

The West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative

The West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative is an all- encompassing approach with multiple agencies and organizations to address adverse impacts to coral reefs in West Maui. The state recognized that reducing land-based pollution sources as much as possible was the best possible approach.

What is the West Maui Ridge to Reef (R2R) Objective?

The R2R Initiative's objective is to restore and improve the health and resiliency of West Maui coral reefs.