(Andrew, Glynn, & Riegl, 2008) This loss of zooxanthellae or the reduction in their pigment concentration from the host is referred to as coral bleaching. Bleaching turns the host coral white, as the skeleton becomes visible through the coral’s transparent tissue. Bleached corals can survive without their counterparts for weeks or months. However, as this symbiosis is vital for reef building, the absence of it significantly reduces coral growth and reproductive ability, eventually leading to reef mortality. (Knowlton, 2001)
Coral bleaching is normally characterized by the expulsion of the zooxanthellae algae, loss of algal pigmentation, or both. Coral bleaching events have had serious effects on corals and reefs worldwide. What is crucial to the understanding of zooxanthellae expulsion and bleaching is how the density of zooxanthellae within the coral is changing, if at all, under the prevailing range of environmental conditions (Gates and Edmunds, 1999). Over the last twenty years, there has been a dramatic increase in both the frequency and intensity of coral bleaching events. Sixty major bleaching events have been reported between 1960 and 1979, whereas only nine were reported prior to 1979 (Huppert and Stone, 1998). Given the dependence of the coral on this symbiotic algae, it is important to determine the cause of these bleaching events. According to Helvarg (2000, p.12):
Many species of coral are magnificent and beautiful to all who observe it, but when a coral becomes bleached it loses its color and beauty and changes into a sad pale shade of white. How can once beautiful coral become wiped clean of its elegance in such a short period of time? Coral is a simple organism that is created by many layers of calcium to build a frame and typically have a symbiotic relationship between it and a certain algae called ‘zooxanthellae’. These microscopic organisms live deep in the pores of the corals tissue and provide the coral with a steady source of food and protection form disease. “Corals live in very nutrient poor waters and
In the past few decades, a major concern has arisen concerning the drastic deterioration of coral reefs. Coral reefs have resided on the earth longer than any living mammal. However, recent research has shown, “Despite the natural ability to persist, many coral reef ecosystems are in poor health” (Ferguson 46). As leading examples for the rest of the world, citizens of the United States should become familiar with the earth’s systems, such as the oceans and their coinciding reefs. People should also learn the impacts coral reefs have on their lives, as well as how everyday human activities undeniably affect reefs.
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).
Elevated sea temperatures caused by climate change and extra-bright sunlight can result in coral bleaching. As the water gets warmer, corals will expel the algae known as zooxanthellae that lives in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. When temperatures drop, the corals can recover, but they might be vulnerable to disease and when
Most reef-building corals contain photosynthetic algae, termed zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues. The corals and algae have a mutualistic association. The coral provides the algae a environment and compound
The coral reef is in the shallow part of the ocean it is usually clear and the warmth is about medium. The warmth in the coral reefs stays between 75 degrees to 85 degrees. The coral reefs is located around the indo pacific region Austria American and African west coast. The coral reef biome is over 1,200 miles. The plants that there is algae and sea grass and also mangroves mantes forage on the sea grasses. Also, there is sea stars and cuttle fish clown fish sea snakes and sharks. The clown fish niche is the clown fish protects the anemore from the butter fly fish. The clown fish will feed on and dead left-over fish the clownfish especially likes to feed on the anemone which it lives. The predators of the clownfish are sharks the sharks will
Corals are tiny immobile animals that live in colonies, where each cluster is called a polyp. Different species build structures of various sizes and shapes, such as brain or fan coral, creating a diverse and complex ecosystem (EPA 2000). Nearly all reef-dwelling corals have a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the algae, which live inside the coral polyps and perform photosynthesis, a process that produces food that is shared with the coral (Fagoonee 1999). In addition, the algae share its
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.
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 bleaching occurs when the microscopic plants (zooxanthellae) are expelled by rising ocean temperature. When there are no microscopic plants such as zooxanthellae, the coral turns white and die. The studies show that throughout the worlds ocean, from the Florida Keys to the Great Barrier Reef of the Australia have been evidence of unique coral bleaching caused by the rising of ocean temperature. In the early 1980s the coral bleaching event has increased because of rapid increase of sea water temperature. Esther et al., investigates growth of Oculina patagonica at multiple environmental conditions in the western Mediterranean Sea. The Oculina patagonia is stony coral specie which is found mostly in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. The coral was basically Atlantic origin which was transferred to Mediterranean Sea.
Red coral have separate male and female colonies, these groups of females internally fertilize. They rely on male red coral to release sperm from their colonies and hope for it to land on the polyps of the female colonies. In the polyps, fertilized eggs become larvae and they take thirty days to develop in the body cavity. They are released about July or August then they quickly establish and attach close to the parent colony. Corallium do not grow very rapidly, they will mature in about seven to twelve years but can live up to one hundred years or more.
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.