It has been stated that, “Evolution is in reverse” (Kenneth R. Weiss from the Los Angeles Times). Now ancient species of sea life are thriving while more complex organisms and new species aren’t thriving in our oceans. That situation is bad since they are taking over ecosystems completely blocking animals from sunlight, space, and any other necessities. There have also been other species that are now plaguing our oceans such as jellyfish, and other species of algae. These organisms can definitely lead to negative impacts on us and the ocean’s vast ecosystems.
Coral reefs are one of the most affected systems by ocean acidification. Coral is one of the main ecosystem engineers in these ecosystems without them; the ecosystem will not be as healthy or sustainable for other organisms. The species richness and evenness will decrease tremendously due to this. Corals help set the structure for the ecosystem so fish can use it for protection against predators. This structure allows many organisms to come in and make it there home, because of the thriving biodiversity that there is in these ecosystems.
Coral gets its color from zooxanthellae (zoh-oh-zan-thell-ee), which is algae. Climate change and pollution can cause stress on the algae, which could lead to coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is when the coral turns white. Coral lives in tropical waters throughout the world. They take up less than 1% of the worlds surface.
For instance, overfishing is removing keystone species in a coral reef environment, such as parrotfish. Parrotfish are herbivores, which feed solely on algae. Without parrotfish eating the algae from a coral reef, the coral would die and many other species would suffer as a result. Thus, herbivorous fish, like parrotfish, are considered keystone species. This is because many other species depends on its survival and their large influence in the ecosystem.
Coral reef destruction has caused mass eradication that affects life under the water as well as above it. Because coral is so important to animals and species whose habitat is coral itself, coral’s role serves a huge purpose in its environment. This is why the destruction of coral is such a huge issue. Coral is a complex underwater structure that is currently being threatened by many different types of destruction. Made from calcium carbonate, when coral is meshed together with other coral, it is formed into a solid configuration called a coral reef.
Coral reefs are often thought of being “rainforests of the ocean” as they create a large diversity. A select type of coral control this diversity a symbiotic relationship with plankton. The distinct type of plankton are called zooxanthellae. This symbiotic relationship between hosts and partners that use photosynthesis, allow coral to skyrocket in seas where nutrients are poor and send calcium carbonate down to the bottom of the ocean in order to build reefs up in size (Toller et al. 2001).
Although bleaching can be found in animals, it is most notable in corals. These species have a symbiotic relationship with the yellow-brown colored zooxanthellae from the genus Symbiodinium (Douglas ). Figure 3 shows the symbiotic relationship of the algae with a coral (Wadlow ). All species affected by bleaching have undergone mortality in massive numbers. Corals that are bleached usually reflect a white color, which is the calcium carbonate of the underlying skeleton (Douglas ).
These reefs form when a single, free-swimming coral larva attaches itself to a rock or another f... ... middle of paper ... ...rs” the reef and prevents light that is necessary to the coral’s survival from reaching the reef (48). Another major environmental threat to coral reefs is pollution. Pollution can come from a wide array of sources and have a variety of adverse effects on coral reefs. Some common pollutants of coral reefs include sewage, silt, urban and industrial waste, oil, fertilizer runoff, pesticides and other chemicals. Common effects of these pollutants include overgrowth of algae and poisoning of the plants and animals within the reef (DuTemple, 45).
The Importance and Distinction of Coral Reefs Nestled in tropical ocean waters, coral reefs provide valuable resources to both human and marine life. Coral reefs are estimated to contain one-quarter of the undersea world's diverse species while covering less than 0.2 % of the ocean floor. However, coral reefs are in serious danger due to both natural and man-made causes (Edmonds, 1998). Population growth and development has altered the coral reef environment. Destructive fishing practices, land-based sources of pollution such as agricultural runoff, and excessive coastal development all have detrimental effects on delicate reefs.
Their disappearance would destroy the habitat of countless species. It would unravel the web of marine life that holds the potential for new chemicals, new medicines, unlocking new mysteries. It would have a devastating effect on the coastal communities from Cairns to Key West, Florida — communities whose livelihood depends upon the reefs.” These words outline the importance of coral reefs and the impact that they have on the environment, world economy, and humankind. The influence that coral reefs have on the environment is tremendous, as they affect both marine and land habitats. In the ocean, reefs provide accommodations for and sustain over 2 million different species or 25% of all marine life.