Coral Endangerment

Amazing Essays
Coral Endangerment and Carbon Emissions
Robert Swan once said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” It is well known that when it comes to the environment, human and destruction are synonymous. Simply look up “coral” in a search engine and you are bound to find countless articles showing how our excessive release of carbon has jeopardized reefs around the world. Yet most people, after concluding the article, still do not have the full sense of what is actually happening. In this essay I plan to address how human efforts are helping coral reef communities achieve resilience in response to the increase of human carbon emissions.
To establish why we even need to concern ourselves with the preservation
…show more content…
It is a little known fact that most corals consist of both the coral polyp itself, along with a zooxanthella algae living within it. The two share a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship in which the coral provides shelter and nutrients to the zooxanthella in return for carbohydrates. However, neither adjust well to fluctuations in temperature, ocean acidification, pollution, or excessive nutrients due to runoff. When there is an increase in temperature, the polyp loses its ability to protect itself from heat damage (Painting). Meanwhile, when the zooxanthella begins to feel the effects of heat, it speeds up its process of photosynthesis. In turn, it also begins to release more oxygen(waste) as it completes the process. The oxygen released begins to poison the polyp in the means of oxygen radicals or if combined with water; hydrogen peroxide. To save itself, the coral polyp expels the algae. Yet with this move, the polyp is causing itself to become susceptible to starvation, disease, competitive seaweeds or macroalgae (Bornean). Once released, zooxanthellae have the ability to form new relationships with other marine animals, such as giant clams, nudibranchs, or jellyfish, to carry out its days (“A to Z of Oz Marine Life”). All hope is not lost for the coral however; it has the possibility to recover. If conditions improve there is the likelihood that a zooxanthella will reenter the …show more content…
Although we are unsure if acidification can lead to coral bleaching at this time, it is obvious to see the negative effects it is having on our reefs (Ware). The Ocean Portal Team at the Smithsonian dig deeper into the acidification process and allow for a better understanding of the progression. The article describes the activity of acidification as the abundance of carbon emissions expelled by humans and the ocean’s organisms’ inability to break it all down. With our heavy reliance on greenhouse gases, we have now pumped more carbon into the atmosphere than it can naturally handle. As a result, ocean organisms are intaking a lot of this carbon, which has led to a reduction in pH of the waters. The staggering fact that in recent times the growth of the acidity level has come close to 30% demonstrates the intense impact. In the beginning, we were happy that the vast amounts of plankton were soaking up so much of the carbon dioxide, it allowed for a slower growth of global warming. People were aware that this was poisoning the oceans in some aspects, yet they expected the freshwater flowing to the oceans to help fix the problems by carrying dissolved chemicals from river rocks to balance out the lowering pH. Nonetheless, we have exceeded the capacity that nature could correct, which has led to high levels of ocean acidification. This change has not had a

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