Located in tropical ocean waters, coral reefs provide priceless resources to both human and marine life. The leading natural cause of destruction among the coral reefs is global warming. Other natural causes are earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. The destruction to the coral reefs from these natural disasters is minimal compared to the dangers caused by man. Man-made destruction has a much wider impact on the health of the coral reefs. This destruction includes over-fishing, damage from anchors, aquarium industry, overgrowth of seaweed, and being smothered by sediments.
The 2,300 km Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world's largest protected reef system.
Consisting of less than 1% of the world oceans, the coral reefs are ancient animals comprising of thin calcium carbonate deposits within the photic layer. Aside from its biologically diverse ecosystems, coral reefs are major source of food for millions and provides habitats and nursery areas for many marine organisms. Coral reefs also act as a physical buffer to protect the coastlines from tropical storms and erosion. In addition, many local communities rely on coral reefs to generate an income through activities such as fishing and diving. However, 75% of the coral reefs are under threat from induced impacts of humans and climate change (Burke, et al., 2011). This essay looks at the human impacts constantly being inflicted on coral reefs.
The article talks about how climate change has affected coral reefs over the past several years. Kim Cobb who is a marine scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology said that climate change has damaged the coral, the entire reef is covered with red-brown fuzz and algae had grown over the dead coral during his last dive in the deep waters of Kiritimati Island. According to the article, Scientists believe that the damages of coral reefs are caused by the mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, heat stress from multiple severe weather events like El Nino and climate change. As a result, more than a third of Earth’s coral reefs are threatened and many may not recover.
Coral reefs have suffered degradation due to anthropogenic activities for decades. The direct and indirect effects of overfishing and pollution from agriculture and land development have been the major drivers of coral reef decline over the past two centuries. More importantly, these threats to coral reefs have been compounded and exacerbated by superimposed impacts of global climate change, such as rising sea temperature and level, and increased ocean acidification. (T. P. Hughes, 2003)
The Great Barrier Reef is on the brink of dying, and humans are to blame. Corals are the center of marine ecosystems as they provide food and shelter for animals as well as a source of income for Australia, in terms of tourism and fishing. However, as said by NASA research scientist Liane Guild, “Coral reefs are considered ‘canaries of the oceans,’ acting as an early warning system for marine ecosystems” . If the corals die off then everything in the ocean will follow. Of course weather is unpredictable and is a big part of why coral bleaching has occurred, but humans have also had a negative impact on them. There are currently Catholic movements aimed at saving the reef, and Pope Francis mentions the gravity of this situation in his recent encyclical. That being said, if we as a human race were told about coral bleaching by governments and were educated about it in school then global warming and weather wouldn’t have affected it as much as it has.
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 reef ecosystems around the globe are threatened by human interferences and climate change. This has led to many scientists conducting studies on global coral reef ecosystems to gain a better understanding of the cause and effects of coral reef damage. In both Hodgson’s (1999) and Carpenter et al.’s (2008) studies, they are aware of the continuous degradation of global coral reef ecosystems. Hodgson's study involved conducting a survey on global coral reef ecosystems to see whether human actions were affecting the health of supposed pristine Coral reefs. Carpenter et al. incorporated Hodgson’s study into a compiled study about the possible extinction of reef building corals due to climate change and anthropogenic effects. Carpenter’s
Coral reef destruction is a big deal. There are many environmental threats on coral reefs which means they are slowly dying. Coral reefs play a very important part in marine ecosystems. Sea creatures depend on them for protection, camouflage, as a home, and also for food. Scientists believe this could be from natural causes like erosion, and global warming as reasons that coral reefs die off but one of the main reasons is pollution. There are many different ways pollution can affect coral reefs. There is a chemical in sunscreen called oxybenzone that may be contributing to the destruction of coral reefs as swimmers are trying to protect their skin. This chemical has toxic effects on young coral that can damage their DNA,
First, I am going to talk about the importance of coral reefs. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. They are home to 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard coral, and hundreds of other species. Scientists believe that there are another 1 to 8 million unidentified species (NOAA). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, new drugs are being developed from
Conservationists around the world are putting their best foot forward in an attempt to save the coral reefs. Coral reefs today are at a high risk of damage because of all the attention drawn to them by tourists. There are some islands that make all their money through tourism and exploiting the coral reefs, giving snorkel and scuba diving trips to guests that have traveled from around the world. Many people travel to these places with amazing under water worlds and they come extremely uneducated about these beautiful masterpieces. Tourists will drop their anchors on top of corals and drive their boats over corals, causing severe damage that will take the coral years and years to replenish. There are always new ways to enhance the lives of the
The Great Barrier Reef is distressed by numerous impacts. The reef is the world’s biggest living creature, fully made of coral stretching out to 2, 300km² and is also located just off the coast of Queensland. The prime problem for the reef is overfishing. Overfishing is severely intervening the ecosystem, which is in the reef. This is killing off the fish and gradually killing animals like sharks and starfish by devouring the food chain. The reef needs a good, stable and diverse amount of fish to sustain being healthy to continue growing upwards in sea-life. If one species of fish were to be extinct from the reef, it would then sluggishly take out another species after another, continuously until The Great Barrier Reef’s demise. Many of the sea creatures are protected by international law, to help protect them from the hard ecosystem we’ve put them in, with trawling and fishing being one of their biggest encounters and most lethal ones.
Overfishing, tourism, abnormal fishing methods, pollution are the main causes of human origin that is responsible for the reefs deterioration. For example, the dumping of industrial wastes and waste oil dumping is causing massive harm to the coral reefs, which need fresh water for its
Coastal reefs are destroyed by sediment. Erosion caused by construction (both along coasts and inland), mining, logging, and farming is leading to increased sediment in rivers. This ends up in the ocean, where it can 'smother' corals by depriving them of the light needed to survive. The destruction of mangrove forests, which normally trap large amounts of sediment, is exacerbating the problem. Some tourist resorts and infrastructure have been built directly on top of reefs, and some resorts empty their sewage or other wastes directly into water surrounding coral reefs. Fishing operations have expanded to, quite literally, every corner of the ocean over the last 100 years, due to the fact that technology now exists that enables humans to find and catch every single fish in the oceans, no matter where they are located on the planet. This affects the ecological balance of coral reef communities, warping the food chain and causing effects far beyond the directly overfished