Coral Reefs : The Ecosystem

860 Words Apr 29th, 2016 4 Pages
Coral reefs are an essential component to the ecosystems in Hawaii. Coral reefs are comprised of numerous Cnidarian species that grow sympatrically to form structured colonies. Coral reef colonies support a wide range of marine wildlife. The marine animals utilize coral reefs as their habitat, as a source of food, and as a catalyst for community interactions.
Coral reef communities that are well established are known to be highly biodiverse. Coral reefs are known as the tropical rainforests of the sea. Keystone species of multi-taxa, such as: Echinodermata, Porifera, Chordata, and Arthropoda, all contribute to the complex ecosystem by occupying distinct ecological niches (Jimenez 2012). If the integrity of the coral reef structures is compromised, it impacts the entire ecosystem, and denizens in the community will suffer.
Coral reefs preserve coastline communities. Surrounding reefs are physical barriers that decrease erosive wave action. These coral reef structures provide a buffer from ocean swells, currents and seas storms, protecting beaches from erosion and property from damage.
Coral reefs are not only important for the environment but also beneficial for humans. Reefs provide fish to catch, economic financial gain from tourism and contain medicinal potential (Donner 2007). Fishermen are reliant on coral reef ecosystems, supplying them with an abundance of seafood to market or consume. The economy profits from the revenue generated by the attraction of tourism to the…
Open Document