This paper reviews what we currently know about coral bleaching and its impact on coral reef ecosystems. It analyses the scientific evidence linking coral bleaching to climate change and other anthropogenic activities. It also focuses on the importance of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of coral bleaching. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations and mitigation strategies to slow down the rate of coral bleaching, thus allowing coral reefs to adapt and develop resilience in the face of climate change.
Across the world’s beautiful oceans, there is a vast and marvelous selection of coral reefs all of which house copious species of coral. Many of these coral are the key element in a marine ecosystem by providing food, shelter and protection for the underwater community. However, this ecosystem is threatened due to the events of coral bleaching, as this event kills the coral and the creatures dependent on them. Without coral, these creatures will become more vulnerable and may be at risk of endangerment or extinction. Bleaching doesn’t just affect the ecosystem it can also cause a lot of damage to local towns and tourist points whose livelihoods depend on their beautiful reefs. Some have already taken action to help prevent bleaching, but what should we do? What can we do to prevent this phenomenon before it’s too late?
Coral reefs are the most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet. There are more than 25,000 known species of organisms and countless others that have yet to be identified (Helvarg, 2000). Reefs thrive on the shallow edge of tropical seas, most often on the eastern edge of continents along warm water currents that brush the coasts. Reefs cannot live in cold waters and are limited by ocean depth and available sunlight. Coral is the foundation of the reef community, providing a three-dimensional structure where thousands of species of vertebrates and invertebrates live and feed. Some species of coral are hard, while others soft. Some are branched, yet others are compact and rounded. Coral is made up of large
Worldwide we are facing an epidemic of large-scale Coral Reefs bleaching themselves white. Although white coral is not dead it is likely to die shortly after bleaching. The main problem is global warming, this causes overfishing, pollution and rising ocean temperatures with more acidity. Global warming is an issue that affects our planet, especially in the ocean. This problem has also an economic and political impact because "If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue."
When thinking of oceans, people imagine the only living things that are in the waters are fish and small organisms. But there is much more some individuals may not know. Some shallow and deep oceans are home to coral. These groups of coral are classified as marine invertebrates. They breathe and consume microscopic animals called zooplankton. Coral reefs receive their energy from the sunlight, they turn it sugars for their energy. The marine invertebrates are living things that are a vital part of the ocean and human beings. Saldy these communities are in major trouble
Throughout Hawaii, ocean temperatures are oddly becoming warmer. On Friday, scientists said that this will cause the worst coral bleaching that Hawaii has ever experienced. Coral reefs are still trying to mend from the bleaching of last year.
Whenever someone hear about bleaching, they automatically think about this strong potent chemical used for clothing to make it stain-free, the pungent smell when they open the door to a pool, or when someone plans on dyeing their hair to a lighter color. Bleaching is very useful for humans, but is it good for the environment? Has anyone heard of coral bleaching? Coral bleaching has nothing to do with chemicals at all, in fact it is called coral bleaching because when coral is bleached, it becomes white like when a t-shirt is bleached (though too much bleach can eat a hole). Coral bleaching has been a problem these past few years on the East coast of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It has been declining in its beautiful
Coral reefs are found in shallow tropical waters along the shores of islands and continents. Coral bleaching is a topic that gets left in the dust. Not many people really pay attention or show much interest in it. Widespread bleaching, involving major coral reef regions and resulting in mass coral mortality has raised concerns about linkage of the events to global phenomenons including global warming or climate change and increased UV radiation from ozone depletion. Corals provide a lot not just for us humans but for marine life as well. Marine Biology provides information about how bleaching happens and how it affects the coral. Buchheims’ article is full of logos and a few pathos while the other source is full of ethos. In The Nature Conservancy’s director Stephanie Wear provides us with lots of professional opinions
Coral reefs exist all over the world and are generally known as being one of the most diverse, intricate and beautiful of all existing marine habitats. They have many varying structures which are developed by algae and are symbiotic with various reef building corals which are referred to as, zooxanthellae (algae). There are many other factors such as, coralline algae, sponges and other various organisms that are combined with a number of cementation processes which also contribute to reef growth, (CORAL REEFS, 2015).
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 ).
According to the latest research of scientist team led by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), tropical corals cannot survive without the Symbiodinium algae that live inside them. These photosynthetic organisms supply the corals with all their food, more than 90 percent. UNSW specialists say that increased water temperatures stress the algae, provoking them to produce an excess of toxic substances, which called reactive oxygen species. As a result of intoxication, damage both the algae and the corals.
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is experiencing bleaching. According to France-Presse, bleaching of a reef is “coral...that has been stressed by the heat” (France-Presse). When a coral has been “stressed by heat,” (France-Presse) the coral discards the algae that lives within itself which causes the coral to be more susceptible to disease. It can take up to several decades for a coral to recover from bleaching. Because of that fact that most coral does not have enough time to recover, it dies.
Australia’s scientists have released its comprehensive map of the Great Barrier Reef’s bleached corals revealing that less than 36% of the areas explored have not been severely bleached yet. The bleaching is caused by abnormally hot waters due to El Niño and climate change. These high temperatures cause corals’ symbiotic algae, which is their crucial food source, to become scarce and toxic, forcing the corals to expel it. Removing the algae turns the coral bone white and the coral begins to starve. Of the 911 individual reefs that researchers surveyed, a large 93%-843 reefs-experienced some kind of bleaching. Furthermore, the Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,500 different kinds of fish, 6 of the worlds remain seven marine turtle species
Since early 1998, climate change has been demonstrating its effects in increasing the ocean 's temperature (West & Salm, 2003). Warm water stress corals causing the phenomenon known as coral bleaching, by which expulsion of colourful symbiotic algae the zooxanthellae, vital for
Coral reefs contain symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae which gives the coral its healthy brownish color. The algae "utilizes sunlight and the coral animal's respired CO2 to produce energy rich compounds that feed the coral host" (AIMS, 2003). When stress factors such as "heat, solar radiation, pollution, reduced salinity and changes in oxygenation" occur around the coral, bleaching can begin (Dennis). When bleaching occurs, the algae, which create nutrients for the coral to feed from, is released due to stresses to the reef. Thus the coral starves and its white calcium carbonate skeleton of the coral becomes visible (AIMS, 2003). But one of the main stresses that contributes to the lifeless white appearance of the coral is the warmer temperatures of the sea surface water.