Bleaching Away the Beauty of Coral Reefs Essay

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Pretend you are about to go scuba diving in the ocean. You jump in the water and begin to sink down. As you start surveying the coral reefs around you, something catches your eye. The coral has turned white, and no longer moves with life. This whiteness seems to have spread over a large area of the reef. You no longer see the colorful branches swaying in the current, or the schools of tropical fish swimming through the leaves. This death-ridden reef will never have the same life it once had.
     This phenomenon is known as coral reef bleaching. This makes corals unattractive and lifeless. The biodiversity of a reef is important to the ecosystem. There are different organizations that have joined together to stop
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This means the slightest change in average seawater temperature can alter the entire ecosystem of the coral reefs. Every mass bleaching event was followed by periods when sea surface temperatures were 1ºC or more above the average values in the warmest month (?GCRA?). Temperature variations from an extremely cold winter or blistering hot summer are not the only causes of bleaching.
     Prolonged exposure to air, especially during a very low tide, freshwater dilution due to heavy rainfall, intense sunlight causing increased ultraviolet radiation, and pollution are all causes of coral bleaching (Wells et al. 54). All of these causes alter the homeostasis that the reef environment needs to live. Various anthropogenic and natural variations in the reef environment can cause the symbiosis to deteriorate.
     Solar irradiance affects shallow water coral during the summer. Both UV radiation and photosynthetically active radiation penetrate the coral, causing it to lose its color. Subaerial exposure occurs during a low tide. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) caused the sea levels to drop some. Also, tectonic uplifts can induce bleaching. Sedimentation, though uncommon, can cause loading of sediments, which choke off the corals. Freshwater dilution is also rare, but deadly. A storm that generates large amounts of precipitation and runoff can lower the salinity of the reef water, thus killing the corals.

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