Imminent Threats to Coral Reefs

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Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems, and even a slight change in their marine habitat could drastically impact the corals, and other marine life too. One of the main threats to the reefs is climate change. As global warming occurs through out the world, the ocean waters will also start to get warmer, which is what is known as ocean warming. Even 2 degrees Celsius change in the water can have a massive impact on the corals. This is because the corals can feel this slight change and will start to feel stressed, and their first natural reaction is to expel their symbiotic zooxanthellae since this algae is not a part of them. The corals at this stage are now hopeless without their symbiotic partner, and will not be able to survive without oxygen and food. The now starving corals will turn into a ghostly white and perish.
Since humans need healthy coral reefs to be able to get fish, it makes sense that they would want to protect the reefs. But instead, overfishing and destructive fishing has become another threat to the marine ecosystem. Not only do corals protect the fish, the fish also protect the reefs by keeping them clean and giving them nutrients and food to thrive. If there weren’t enough fish in the reefs to do so, the corals would not be able to survive. Destructive fishing also does massive damage to the reefs because in some reefs, people have large nets to catch fish in. This technique is not only pointless, but also harmful because the nets will only get caught in the corals, smashing them and the fish too. Some fishermen pour a chemical into the water to stun the fish so they can catch them, but the chemical is very harmful to the corals, and will eventually kill them. Natural disasters occur only once in a while, and so...

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...conditions eventually led to the bleaching of a tremendous amount of corals, and caused a total of 70% to 80% of all shallow-water corals deaths.
Although, weather isn’t the only threat nature brings to the coral reefs. Invasive species and predators of the corals are also threats to the corals. The crown-of-thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) is one of the corals predators. They slowly crawl over corals and literally “eat the life out of them” as they consume all of the corals living tissues, then move on to the next coral. Other predators of corals include fish, barnacle, marine worms, snails and crabs. During 1978, a massive amount of Crown-of-Thorns Starfishes invaded the reefs in the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary in American Samoa. This was an extreme case of predation and had devastating results as 90% of all corals at the sanctuary were destroyed.

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