Coral Bleaching Essay

1472 Words 6 Pages
Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems composed of small animals known as coral polyps, the skeletons of dead corals, and the various plants and animals that take refuge in the rich environment they produce. Sadly, the world 's coral reefs are dying. Ocean acidification, rising water temperatures, and disruption in the balance of sea life combine to form a lethal threat to these beautiful natural wonders. But what is really killing coral reefs? We are. Pollution, physical destruction, and rising global temperatures are all ways that humans are contributing to the worldwide destruction of coral reefs. One major way that humans are indirectly causing coral reef change is through global warming. As humans continue to contribute to this …show more content…
Coral bleaching is the process by which corals expel the algae(zooxanthellae) that are living inside them. The algae and the coral are in a symbiotic relationship where the coral provides protection and nutrients to the algae while the algae use the polyps ' nutrients, along with the process of photosynthesis, to produce food for the coral. Without the algae, the source of their brilliant colors, corals turn white. The absence of the algae also puts the coral under greater stress, making it more susceptible to disease and death. One study by Loya, Sakai, Yamazato, Nakano, Sambali, and Woesik (2014) claimed that rising global temperatures were effecting this change by increasing ocean temperatures, which in turn were facilitating the growth of bacteria that reduce the density of …show more content…
In his study, teams observed various species in reefs throughout the world. Their findings were impressive. While some species, such as lobsters and groupers, were suffering a decrease in number because of over fishing, others, such as sea urchins, were growing in population due to a reduction in predators. In the end, the results of both studies were similar, demonstrating the concept that Hodgson described, “Over fishing of key fish species, in addition to reducing their numbers, can lead to a physical breakdown of the coral reef system.” (p.

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