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 reefs are able to recover. But human pollution such as oil and chemical leaks are most likely to affect the reefs in a way that they cannot recover.
Siltation is another threat to the coral reefs, and even though it is not as common as overfishing or pollution, it still does great damage to the reefs. The main cause of siltation is deforestation, which is when humans are cutting down tremendous amounts of trees in forests. When heavy rains occur, the trees and its roots will hold the water and soil. But when there aren’t enough trees, the soil will tumble into the muddy rivers and eventually get washed up into the ocean and reefs. The mucky water clouds the ocean water, blocking the suns light from penetrating through. This prevents photosynthesis for the corals, and will soon cause them to starve.
Corals were designed to be able to take in large amounts of carbon dioxide, but sometimes, too much of this gas can be harmful to them. Pollution in the air is one way that carbon dioxide can affect the reefs. First of all, when humans pollute the Earth’s atmosphere, the water that evaporates and forms clouds will collect the carbon dioxide, causing acid rain. When there is acidic water in the ocean, the ph. Levels of the...