Bleaching Away the Beauty of Coral Reefs

2340 WordsApr 30, 200510 Pages
Bleaching Away the Beauty of Coral Reefs 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…show more content…
Lastly, the loss of coral will affect the successional stages of algae, which is important to the ecology of reef fishes. The loss will open up space, reduce the intensity of herbivory and, therefore, lead to colonization of the reef benthos by late-successional frondose algae. A dominance of frondose algae lowers benthic production and increases covers of the less palatable algae. The result is the reduced abundance of fish diversity (Rosenberg 165). These three effects all impact the biodiversity that thrives among reefs. It is very important to protect the reefs from dangers. In 1998, there were some experiments conducted to test these three ideas to see which one is the biggest factor is the problems with fish and fisheries. An increase in surgeonfish which supports the increased organic production idea. There was also a loss of damselfish, butterflyfish, and wrasse which supports the loss of fish hypothesis. The decrease in damselfish numbers in fished reefs exhibited both positively and negatively to increased algae. The bleaching phenomena can be used as a sentinel for the environment. It serves as an indicator of environmental stress. There still is no single cause for bleaching. Damage is already come and gone before bleaching is noticed. Observers must do retrospective analysis based on limited environmental data ( Rosenberg 402). Other effects of coral reef bleaching are its effect on tourism (Ray 214). There

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