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Coral Reefs: The Cities of the Sea

In my Aquatic Science class, we are currently learning about coral reefs and the impact they have on marine life. Many people know about coral reefs and that they are home to thousands of species, but few know about the state of coral reefs currently. Today, a lot of the Zooxanthellae ( gives the coral its colors) has left the reefs, which causes coral bleaching. Whether reefs are disturbed by human interaction or natural causes, some reefs today aren't what they used to be. For example, a mass bleaching event fueled by warming oceans has swept reefs around the world but has proved most destructive to the Great Barrier Reef. Almost a quarter of the reef’s coral has died off, but scientist are trying to find ways to revive the coral.

The protection and importance of coral reefs is crucial to ocean life, we can't let these ecosystems die. Coral reefs are among one of the greatest creations, and by knowing the significance of these habitats, we can focus on helping the reefs.

The Importance of Coral Reefs:

What are Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, housing tens of thousands of marine species. About one-third of all marine fish species live in coral reefs. Coral themselves can be either hard or soft corals, both have a specific purpose in a reef ecosystem. Hard corals make up the main base of the reef, while soft corals serve as homes for marine life and also protect the surrounding are. There are three different types of reefs:

  • Fringing reef – directly attached to a shore, or borders it with an intervening shallow channel or lagoon

  • Barrier reef – reef separated from a mainland or island shore by a deep channel or lagoon

  • Atoll reef- more or less circular or continuous barrier reef extends all the way around a lagoon without a central island

1.Coastal Protection- coral reefs are a very effective for absorbing elements coming from the ocean. They absorb waves energy and reduce coastal erosion. They reduce the damage in case of storms, hurricanes, and tsunamis. In doing so, they protect both ecosystems located between the reefs and the shore.

2.Habitats- 1/3 of all marine fish live or have lived in coral reefs, and it is a main ecosystem for the ocean.

3.Food resource- A large proportion of the human population live in developing countries and island nations and depend on a large proportion of food taken directly from the reef waters. It is vital to preserve it from environmental pollution. Reef animals are an important source of protein, contributing about a quarter of the fish catch average in these countries.

4.Economic Importance- Because of the income coming directly from fishing in their waters, reefs provide resources and services worth billions of dollars every year. Millions of people around the world depend on coral reefs for food and protection.

5.Medicines/Treatment- Reef organisms are used for the treatment of diseases such as certain cancers including leukemia, HIV, cardiovascular diseases, and ulcers. Because of its very close similarity to our bones, it serves as a material for bone grafts.

Coral Reef sites:

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