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The Great Barrier Reef Essay

1172 words - 5 pages

The Great Barrier Reef is 350,000 kilometers long, the world’s largest living organism, and is home to 6,000+ species, but these species could be in danger. According to recent research, the Great Barrier Reef is on the verge of dying because of reckless human behavior. The reef is beneficial to not only ocean life, but also people and the mainland. There are also ways to people can preserve the reef.
Some scenarios that have affected the reef are: coral bleaching, over fishing, and diminishing water quality. Coral bleaching affects the reef immensely, “Corals are resilient enough to recover from short periods of bleaching, but if the occurrence becomes more frequent and more harsh, the reef system will not have enough time to rebuild itself and will eventually die” (Top 3 Reasons Why the Reef Is Dying). A specific water temperature is essential in order for the coral to thrive. When the water temperature rises, the coral becomes disturbed, algal pigmentation is lost, and the coral will die. Essentially, the reef is entirely made of coral. Therefore, if coral bleaching continues to increase, the reef will become obsolete. Roughly 1,500 different species of fish live on the reef. The fish benefit the reef as much as it benefits them. Recently the amount of fish has begun to decrease, “When fishing or fishing practices are left unregulated, they create that imbalance in the system and can be a menace to the reef's survival” (Top 3 Reasons Why the Reef Is Dying). The food chain is being affected by careless fishing, but it doesn't just affect fish. Over-fishing causes a shift in the ecosystem and can easily affect the biodiversity and ecological balance. This causes changes in the marine food webs, physical damage by fishing gear, incidental mortality, etc. The boats used for fishing could be affecting the water quality. Diminishing water quality is not helping the process as well, “Disrupting the pH balance of the water can slow down the regeneration of the corals and other calcium-based organism” (The Top 3 Reasons Why the Reef Is Dying). The water is being polluted by toxins from chemicals in the runoff used on farms and other lands, oil spills, and shipwrecks. The “disrupting of the pH balance” slows down the coral’s ability to recreate more. The pollution affects the other species living on the reef as well. Therefore, the reef is dying because of reckless human behavior.
The vast benefits of the reef are evident in many ways. Food, income, and medicine are just a small sampling of this. The diversity of marine life living on the reef is ideal to the people living near the reef, “Covering less than one percent of the ocean floor, reefs support an estimated twenty-five percent of all marine life with over 4,000 species of fish alone” (Benefits of Coral Reefs). If the reef continues on this path, the habitats will deteriorate and the amount of fish will decrease immensely. According International Coral reef Initiative,...

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