Coral Reefs Are The Most Beautiful And Important Ecosystems On Earth

1147 Words Dec 30th, 2014 5 Pages
Coral reefs are among the most beautiful and important ecosystems on Earth. They cover over 280,000 square kilometers and support over eight hundred species of coral and four thousand species of fish. They are often referred to as the “rainforests of the seas”. Coral reefs are crucial to the ocean and humans as they provide a barrier to coasts from waves and storms. They are also spawning grounds for many species of aquatic life and provide humans with medicine and food. The estimated yearly income provided by the coral reef is around thirty billion dollars (Weeks). Despite the importance of coral reefs, is also estimated that roughly one-fourth of coral reefs are damaged and destroyed beyond repair and another two-thirds are in serious danger (Wwf.panda.org). Without coral reefs the entire balance of the oceans and the Earth itself will be upset. Global warming leads to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions which increase ocean temperature and make the waters more acidic and therefore decreasingly hospitable to reef life. The increase in temperature also causes episodes of “coral bleaching.” Coral bleaching is when coral polyps expel microscopic algae that live inside and nourish them. The algae provides the coral’s color, and without it the reef turns white (Weeks). While it is not impossible for the coral to recover, bleaching weakens them and causes them stress that could potentially kill them. Coral bleaching is not a new problem, but in the past,, episodes…

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