Coral Bleaching And Ocean Degradation

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Since the beginning of the industrial era, carbon dioxide or CO2 concentrations have been dramatically increasing. Today we are facing the highest amounts of anthropogenic CO2 in our atmosphere in over 650,000 years. Increased CO2 concentrations will have many negative effects on this planet. Our plants and oceans play a crucial role in carbon recycle on our planet and our oceans absorb one quarter of CO2 that is emitted into our atmosphere. When the ocean absorbs CO2, chemical reactions occur that eventually reduces their pH, carbonate ion concentration and saturation states of important calcium carbonate (CaCO3) minerals. This is known as ocean acidification. With the alteration of acidity, saturation states, and increased temperatures coral …show more content…
Douglas describes coral bleaching by sating, “Bleaching is not restricted to corals, but displayed by all animals in symbiosis with dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium, also known as zooxanthellae because of their yellow–brown color” (Douglas A.E, 2003). Coral communities that have been devastated by coral bleaching are left looking gray and white with very minimal signs of life. Where coral reefs harbor millions of different species and are one of the most majestic ecosystems in oceans. Corals and Symbiodinium species have a symbiotic relationship. Symbiodium possess different types of chlorophyll and carotenoids which provide nutrients and color to corals. There are many causes of coral bleaching not just one direct cause. Because they are so sensitive coral bleaching can be caused by temperature flux and influxes, darkness, introduction to a large amount of CO2, and pathogenic micro-organisms. With so many possible causes of coral collapses it is an easy observe to make that these symbiotic relationships ecologically risky but offer a great reward if maintained for both species. Corals are made out of carbonate ions in particularly calcium carbonate or CaCO3, and with the influx of CO2 coral structures have been degrading over …show more content…
Coral reefs provide for a numerous amount of different species. The effects of coral bleaching for fish in the short term is species richness. The medium to long term effects are currently unknown on exactly what will happen to these species. But what is guaranteed, is that if corals collapse a hefty number of species will become extinct. The current data or understanding of coral bleaching in relation to species is limited to fisheries data and is pretty insignificant. Graham predicts a possible outcome by stating, “Because loss in structural complexity of the reef framework, which can take over 5 years, is likely to affect small individuals and because these may take some time to recruit to the fishery, a lag effect may exist before the full impact of coral bleaching on reef fisheries is realized” (Graham et all., 2007). To help conserve reefs scientist and fishery managers are proposing for the creation of no-take marine protected areas (MPA) to help increase resilience of reef ecosystems. It is apparent that MPA’s will not prevent coral bleaching from occurring but will ultimately increase the biomass of particular reefs and will aid in the recovery of coral collapses around the globe. Figure 4 illustrates how MPA’s help maintain a larger biomass in coral ecosystems and the significance of

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