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Coral reefs are beautiful + a very important factor in the food chain of Earth's oceans.
Coral is primarily Calcium carbonate †= chemically CaCO3
Calcium carbonate is found in rock in all parts of Earth. Coral reefs, shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells contain mostly Calcium carbonate.
Calcium carbonate is altered by acids, releasing carbon dioxide CO2
How coral reefs have been formedCoral reefs polyps secret CaCO3 building underwater structures, we call reefs.
On these structures live tiny animals, we call coral polyps. Looking at a coral reef one can barely see these hundreds, thousands of life forms that live together in huge groups. Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow, unpolluted, sunny and oxygen rich waters.
Some call Coral reefs the rainforests of the sea, because they are one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Growing on about one percent of Earth's ocean area, they provide a habitat for over a quarter of all marine species, as fishes, mollusks, echinoderms and many different varieties of sponges.
Great Barrier Reef Australia is the largest coral reef
Belize Barrier Reef is 2nd
New Caledonia Barrier Reef 2nd longest double barrier
Andros, Bahamas Barrier Reef is 3rd largest.
Red Sea Coral Reef is number 4
Pulley Ridge, Florida is the deepest photosynthetic coral reef
Many reefs are scattered over the Maldives
Wildlife Conservation marine biologists report May temperature far above average. Sumatra island surface waters peaked at 93 degrees Fahrenheit = 34 degrees Celsius ó a 7 degree Fahrenheit = 4 degree Celsius rise over long-term averages. The consequence:
Coral reefs in Asia are dying in an alarming rate.
That's what a dead coral looks like
only the skeleton remains
Coral need a long time to grow, they are ancient life forms, found in all warm oceans on Earth.
BUT all around Earth Coral reefs are dying
Do you know what happens if they disappear altogether?
Coral reefs are part of Earth's oceans food chain. About 50 % of fish we eat lives around coral reefs. Over a billion humans depend on food out of the ocean, or they starve to death.
Do you think these people will die quietly?
Our research and the studies of many scientists blame climate change as a main reason for the deaths of Earth coral reefs.
Coral reef killers are:
1) Pollution - carbon dioxide
†††acidification of ocean water
2) Higher ocean temperatures
3) Man-made chemicals
4) Unsustainable coastal development
5) Bottom-dragging fishing boats
6) Coral trade in jewelry + souvenirs
Over a fifth of Earth's coral reefs are dead. In the Caribbean are more dead than alive corals. It is quite possible that your grand children will not enjoy the beauty of corals.
Human enjoyment is a very small problem compared with the tremendous cascade effect for all life in Earth's oceans.
Exotic and colorful, coral reefs are not just rocks - they are built up by living creatures, called coral polyps that excrete a hard calcium carbonate exoskeleton. When these animals die, and their rocky structures erode, much of the coral marine life dies too, no more spawning, no more feeding habitats.
Fish we eat as the Grouper and Snapper will get extinct, oysters, clams and other creatures eaten by many would also suffer.
The livelihood of fishermen would go down badly.
Seafood will become a luxury good, not affordable to normal people, adding over a billion humans facing hunger.
Earth's food security will be threatened, and the economic damage would be enormous.
Think about reef visiting tourists, scuba divers, snorkelers, seaside resorts, sea food restaurants - all lose their income.
Or think about the types of coral and marine species that are being used by the pharmaceutical industry who needs healthy coral reefs to develop possible cures for cancer, arthritis, dementia.
Coral reefs are precious sources of food, medicine and livelihoods for billions of humans. They are also special places of renewal and recreation. With their exotic beauty and biodiversity, we should protect coral reefs as global treasures.
Another very ancient life form that is part of many coral reefs are
StromatolitesThey grow in shallow water by trapping, binding, and cementation of sedimentary grains. A biofilm of microorganisms Cyanobacteria is cementing these grains together to form blocks.
Cyanobacteria are responsible for increasing the amount of oxygen in the primeval Earth's atmosphere through their continuing photosynthesis. They use water, carbon dioxide CO2, and sunlight to create their food.
The byproducts of this process are oxygen and calcium carbonate = lime.
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Loosing the physical protection of a coral reef is another big problem for many countries. When coral reefs deteriorate, ocean waves cause more damage to coast lines.
It is really amazing to see how Nature provides balance to all life on Earth. How can we get humans to learn and understand?
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