Coral Reef Awareness Week

July 18-24


Importance of Coral Reefs

“Under the vast deep blue ocean there lives a important colorful creature that has become a home to millions of other marine species to grow and live.”

One of the most biologically diverse ecosystem on earth is coral reefs. So what is a Coral reef?

Reef is made of animals called stony corals which made up of colonial organism called polyps. In stony corals, this polyps sits within a calyx or a cup, which excrete a skeleton of calcium-carbonate. Polyps are connected through this skeleton and form a massive reef eventually. In addition to this, corals also host type of algae called zooxanthallae and they live in a type of relationship called symbiosis which simply means organisms help each other to survive. Corals provide the protection with their tougher outer shell and in return algea provides food and corals their strking colors.

Why Corals Matter

Coral not just a providing a housing option for the numureous marine species, it also provides many different economic benifits to the local economy such as touarism, recreational activities, coastal protection and habitat for commercial fisheries. They also produces complex compound that can be used in modern medicine to treat number of diseases.

What is Coral Bleaching?

The symbiostic relationship between coral and the algea only exist as long as water temperature of the water remains neutral. If the water gets warm, zooxanthellae is removed from the coral tissue which cuases it to lose color and major source of food and its beautiful colors. Of course this does not mean the death of the coral but it takes time and require cooler water to recover.

What is Ocean Acidification?

This is mainly happens due to the rising CO2 levels. As the ocean gets absorb carbon in the atmosphere which is released in large amounts everyday, carbon changes the seawater chemistry by reducing pH and as a result of the the building blocks of calcium carbonate skeletons–carbonate ions– is reduced. Thereby calcium skeletons having a difficult time growing up.

What is the danger this poeses to humanity?

According to the research done by scientists, if the emmisions aren’t curbes, corals may begins to dissolove and there would be dire consequence to bio diversity and the human life. Replacemet for corals won’t come quickly nor cheaply.

How to help

There are few diffrent ways to help save this beautiful corals, but individiually we can instead of thinking ‘oh whats the point knowing if you cant change it’ like some sort of sia’s song. You can acutally help to reduce amount of CO2 that is release to the atmosphere which would prevent bleaching and acidification which harm corals dangerously. You can also help keep ocean less polluted by not using ocean as a dumpster or trash can and advocating others to do the same. Another way is force the goverment to impose laws and restrictions to prevent overfishing which would prevent the murder and depletion of fish species that keep important algea alive.

Final Thoughts

As you understand coral reef contributes to sustain life on earth in many diffrent ways as it constitute the large portion of our biosphere and sometimes known as rainforest of the ocean. But great enemy it has is none other than the ungrateful child of the god, also known as human beings who would destroy anything in their haste for gains and profit. We must endeavor to teach our kids the importance of these ecosystem that keeps us alive and why we need to protect them.

Source – Wikipedia, National Geographic


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