There are many causes of coral reef bleaching. The biggest concern of oceanographers is the effect global warming is having on the reefs. It is a stress condition that involves a breakdown of the symbiotic relationship between corals and unicellular algae called zooxantheallae. These microscopic plants live within the coral tissue, giving it color and food. One of the first symptoms of bleaching is the loss of color (?Coral Bleaching?).
This implies that different life forms are affected in one way or the other given the effect of temperature on life. Different species of flora and fauna have and continue to suffer the effect of climatic changes. Coral reef is one of seawater features that have been affected by climatic changes. This has led to destruction through coral bleaching and increased mortality, especially due to the warming of the sea that causes an increase in sea water levels (Bakerl, Glynn & Riegl, 2008). An increase in global temperature also increases ocean acidification (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2007).
And then when that happens, little algae establish on that died-off patch" (Harris, 2009). As a result, damselfish increase the number of pockets in coral, creating more crevices where algae can grow. This creates a positive feedback loop, which further encourages and attracts damselfish to use corals as grounds for breeding and feeding (Wheeling Jesuit University, 2004). Overfishing ... ... middle of paper ... ...detrimental to the long-term survival of many species. For instance, overfishing is removing keystone species in a coral reef environment, such as parrotfish.
They contain lots of types of coral and a lot of different animal species. The grooves in coral reefs give good hiding places for fish and other underwater species. Coral reefs are also known as the “rainforests of the ocean.” I like a quote from the book The Sixth Extinction,”Corals build the architecture of the ecosystem, so it’s pretty clear if they go, the whole ecosystem goes.” Coral is a type of invertebrate that is made up of lots of polyps and they grow very slowly. They are related to sea anemones and jelly fish. Coral gets its color from zooxanthellae (zoh-oh-zan-thell-ee), which is algae.
Some of the major threats to coral reefs include sedimentation, water pollution, harmful recreational activities, and global warming. All of these things cause stress on corals and can potentially cause mortality. Corals are made up of two parts, a polyp and zooxanthellae. A polyp is a calcerous body that grows from a hard part of the ocean floor. Zooxanthellae is a photosynthetic algae which lives in the polyp and provide energy for themselves and the coral.
Some causes of bleaching have been tied to salinity of the ocean and sedimentation. The main reasons known to cause severe coral bleaching are climate change and radiation. These two elements are extremely harmful to coral especially when they’re working together at the same time (Fitt et al. 2001). There are two kinds of bleaching that are due to zooxanthellae damage.
Throughout the marine environment, humans have begun overfishing in multiple marine environments. This opens niches in the oceanic food webs. These niches, or spaces in the food webs, result from the removal of predators that would previously control the jellyfish population (Stone). In the absence of their predators, the jellyfish population is free to expand and forms blooms, or large jellyfish populations. The jellyfish themselves then prevent the native fish population from rebounding by feeding on the fish eggs (Stone).