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Extinction Risks For Coral Reefs Essay

1229 words - 5 pages

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 et al. uses Hodgson’s study to show how human effects are assisting the demise of reef-building corals in conjunction with global climate change. The incorporation of Hodgson’s work into Carpenter et al's. compiled paper has been in part misrepresented. Hodgson’s study does identify that there are a low abundance of reef building coral and other indicator species in coral reef ecosystems and that these effects may be attributed to human interference. However, his study does not attribute any depletion of reef building coral to climate change or how human activities have reduced coral resilience to climate change.
Hodgson’s study involved surveying over 300 reefs across the globe. The survey was performed over two and a half months by experienced coral reef surveyors at each coral reef site. The purpose of the survey was to identify eight indicator organisms that are associated with human interference and are commonly found in global coral reef ecosystems, including lobster, grouper, Haemulidae, butterflyfish, fleshy algae, hard coral, Diadema sea urchins and sponges. Hodgson believed the greater the number of indicator organisms at a coral reef the healthier that coral reefs were and the less it has been effected by anthropogenic effects. The coral reef surveyors were instructed to find the best sites that they believed had the most living coral and were thought to be least affected by human activities. This would allow Hodgson to determine if human activities were having an appreciable effect on the supposed pristine coral reefs, which were distant from urban centers. The invertebrate survey was undertaken at two depth intervals of 3m and 10m. Four 0.5 m wide by 20 m long belts were placed on the coral reef. Over a period of 3-5 minutes the observers counted the number of invertebrates found on the belts. The coral survey was performed, by placing four 20 m long belts on the coral substrate. At 0.5 m intervals the substrate on which the belts were lying was examined and recorded.
After the two and half month survey, the data was collected and interpreted by various means: Cluster analysis, Coral Reef Health Index (CRHI) and Distance Population Index (DPI). The coral reef site that had the highest number of...

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