The beautiful coral reefs known and loved by the entire world are rapidly moving towards their extinction due to certain disturbance in the earth’s climate. Considered as one of the richest sources for biodiversity; coral reefs are of numerous usages to mankind but unfortunately they are also one of the most abandoned marine animals. Not only did they benefit the sea creatures that inhabit them but also the environment and people by providing them
• Provide abundance of food and medicine material for research work.
• Protect coast from wave impact and storms.
• Tourist attraction.
The extinction of coral reefs will have a disastrous effect on population that relies on them, mostly the fish and other marine creature that depend completely on reefs for their survival. Moreover, it would leave the seashore open to the effects of storm surges and may result in revenue loss from tourism. Among all of them the first victim to this danger will be the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest organic structure will fall pray to acidifying oceans.
Scientists from all over the globe are now expressing their concerns after their studies have revealed the following disaster;
• 98% of coral reefs worldwide are likely to become too acidic for corals to grow.
• 20% of the world’s coral reefs have been effectively ruined and show no immediate sign of recovery.
• Many reefs have already been affected by bleaching, a process in which the coral loses its color and turns a pale white, caused by increased sea surface temperatures.
• Increased level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere may obstruct the coral’s ability to construct new reefs.
The 75% of earth’s surface is covered by sea and is able to absorb approximately one third of 20 billion tones of carbon dioxide produced by humans each year. While the oceans are quite capable of slowing down the effects of global warming by keeping the gas away from the atmosphere by dissolving the carbonic acid, thus in turn dissolve carbonates. One of the Carbonates, aragonite is used by the coral reefs for growing their skeletons, without this corals become frail and are unable to grow and repair the damage caused to them by fish, snails and natural erosion.
The last 50 years has seen an increase in the water temperatures of tropical and subtropical areas, this has resulted in an increased risk for the existing corals. Coral Reefs identified as “Under threat” are Philippines, Gulf of Guinea, Sunda Islands, Southern Mascarene Islands, Eastern South Africa Next to Cape Floristic. Up to half of the world’s coral reefs may disappear by 2045 unless urgent measures are taken to protect them against environmental hazards, particularly climate change, the World Conservation Union said in a report.
There are several organizations now striving to protect and preserve these treasures of the sea. The Coral Reef Alliance is working to save coral through a number of educational programs. The International Coral Reef Initiative and the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation is another such group, working hand in gloves to save the nature gift to mankind.