Humans have a very large effect on the ecosystems of coral reefs. Sensitivity of coral reefs causes them to be more susceptible to harmful anthropogenic practices. Some of these are sedimentation, global warming, recreational activities, poison fishing, blast fishing practices, water pollution, and coral mining. All of these very different practices can effectively end up with the same results; the mortality of coral reefs around the world. Coral reefs are an important ecosystem of the world, and support many different industries and millions of people.
Coral Reefs are said to be the “tropical rainforest” of the sea. They are home to over 25% of all marine life (http://coralreefalliance.org.stories/storyReader$77). Over the past few decades they have been subjected to destructive anthropogenic practices. 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. In many cases, corals undergo “bleaching,” which is a process where corals lose the zooxantheallae or chlorophyll pigment, and turn white (Wilkinson et all). After bleaching corals can survive for several months. It is possible for corals to recover by hosting more zooxantheallae, but it can take between 5 and 50 years for them to recover completely (Wilkinson et all, 1999).
As the human p...
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Nowlis, J., Roberts, C., Smith, A., and Siirila, E., 1997, Human Enhanced Impacts of a Tropical Storm on Nearshore Coral Reefs: Ambio, v. 26, no. 8, p. 515-521.
Rouphael, A.B. and Inglis, G.J., 1997, Impacts of Recreational Scuba Diving at Sites with Different Reef Topographies: Biological Conservation, vol. 82, no. 3, p. 329-336.
Wilkinson, C., Linden, O., Cesar, H., Hodgson, G., Rubens, J., and Strong, A., 1999, Ecological and Socioeconomic Impacts of 1998 Coral Mortality in the Indian Ocean: An ENSO Impact and a Warning for Future Change: Ambio, v., 28, no.2, p. 188-196.
Wolanski, E., Spagnol, S., 1999, Pollution by mud of Great Barrier Reef Coastal Waters: Journal of Coastal Research, V. 16, no. 4, p. 11510-1156.
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