Essay about Bleaching of Coral is Harming the Environment

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METHODS Bleaching occurrences have happened before the 1980s; however detailed information could not be gathered due to lack of reporting (Berkelmans, De’ath and Kininmonth). In 1911, the first bleaching event was reported at Bird Key Reef in the Florida Keys, in which unfamiliar warm weathers caused “injury” upon the corals and the death of many fishes (Berkelmans, De’ath and Kininmonth). In 1998, the worst bleaching event was recorded. In some parts of the world, live corals were completely harmed (Coghlan). Although bleaching can be found in animals, it is most notable in corals. These species have a symbiotic relationship with the yellow-brown colored zooxanthellae from the genus Symbiodinium (Douglas ). Figure 3 shows the …show more content…

A hypothesis created by a group of scientists determined that the cause for bleaching was due to stress (Brown and Ogden). This stress is closely linked to salinity changes, exposure to ultraviolet radiation in excessive amounts, huge climate changes and most importantly the increase in warm waters (Douglas ). Corals can survive in water that is between 25˚ and 29˚C. Any water temperature above that will result in the death of algae (Brown and Ogden). High ocean temperatures mixed with solar radiation are attributed to current large-scale bleaching events leading to global climate change, such as El Niño (Douglas ). These increasing ocean temperatures, which result in global warming, are mostly due to the amount of CO2 released in the air, therefore threatening the existence of the coral reef systems (Cole, Pratchett and Jones). The reduction of the coral reef ecosystems are attributed to the climate induced bleaching from the past decade. The loss of coral reef environments has direct affects to the habitat of an organism within the reefs (Cole, Pratchett and Jones), leading to a decrease in biodiversity (Coker, Pratchett and Munday). A variety of fish species make coral reefs their home. They use the branches of the corals during the day and night for protection against predators. (Coker, Pratchett and Munday). In the experiment of Coker, Pratchett and Munday, it shows relocation of fishes when their host is harmed by bleaching as shown in Figure 5.

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