Coral Reef Environmental Impacts

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Introduction Coral reef ecosystems are arguably one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth. (Spalding 2001) Because of the marine life that swarms these areas, the reefs are comparable to those of tropical rainforests. (Spalding 2001) Additionally they play a critical role in the success of coastal communities, providing protection from storms, and drives tourism to these areas. However, due to unfortunate changes that inundates the coral reef ecosystems from increases in human population, overfishing, and tremendous rises in pollutant productions that is creating devastating impacts to all organisms and areas involved. (Spalding 2001) Aside from the aforementioned issues, a rapid increase in climate changes through human activities …show more content…
(Wilkinson, Linden and Cesar 1999) Although the formation of El Niño Southern Oscillations are secluded to just the Pacific, the effects are widespread with major global impacts on coral reef systems- most notably in the tropical Indian Ocean where storms are likely to develop. (Wilkinson, Linden and Cesar 1999) From the end of 1997 into the latter part of 1998, sea surface temperatures rose in many tropical areas where coral reefs are found 2º -3º C above normal. (Wilkinson, Linden and Cesar 1999) Much of the 1997-98 in this region led to mass mortality, where upwards of 90% of the corals died in a span of several hundred kilometers. (Spalding …show more content…
However, the global impact felt throughout the globe resounds in the functioning and succession of the coral reefs. A 17-year study done by Kelmo and Attrill focused on dangers posed to specific species of corals from 1995-2011 off the coast of Bahia, Brazil. Although no major storm formation occurs in the Atlantic Ocean during that time, the tropical climate and abundance of corals on shallow banks made for a suitable site to observe the effects of 1997-98 ENSO on overall diversity and densities of coral colonies as it occurred in the midst of the study. (Kelmo and Attrill 2013) Upon the passing of El Niño in 1998 there were noticeable declines in coral densities and no major new settlement formations that occurred until 2001. (Kelmo and Attrill

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