Coral Reef Bleaching : A Serious Problem That Should Be Addressed Immediately
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Coral reef bleaching is a serious problem that should be addressed immediately. Coral reef bleaching is an issue because of the damage done to the coral, and the damage done to the ecosystem associated with coral reefs. Some proposed solutions are that more areas of coral reefs should be protected, and sunscreens should be banned in and near the reefs.
Coral reefs are living structures comprised of the exoskeletons of a marine organism known as polyps. Polyps are animals that have a symbiotic relationship with algae that lives inside the polyps and provides the coral with energy through photosynthesis, which is the process of turning light into energy, and the coral provides a safe place for the algae to reside in. Bleaching in corals occurs when environmental stressors cause the coral to eject the algae from itself, causing the coral to lose its pigment and its main way of producing energy (Kenneth et al. 540). It is estimated that 30% of coral reefs around the world have been damaged or destroyed by bleaching, and about 60% of the world’s coral reefs are at risk from bleaching (Lönnstedt et al 1178-1185).
Environmental stressors are some of the reasons that corals bleach. Some of these environmental stressors include rises in water temperature around coral reefs and increased ultraviolet light. Some unnatural stressors are manmade chemicals that have made their way into the ocean environment (McClanahan, Weil, and Maina 1804-1816).