Environmentalists are not losing hope about saving the coral reefs. Although about sixty percent of the structures in the oceans around the world are severely affected, conservation strategies will still be applied. The main phenomenon that must be curbed is coral bleaching, as well as other human actions which affect the marine ecosystems.
Marine biologists observed that the phenomenon of coral bleaching started to affect the ecosystems two years ago. Back in 2014 nothing seemed to predict the damage caused by the disease to the coral reefs worldwide. Even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is affected, with more than ninety percent of its structures being ill.
Specialists at the Smithsonian Institute stress that coral reefs stand as the most complex ecosystem in the marine environment. Plants, fish, and other sea creatures depend on the corals, as they provide them with food and shelter.
Coral reefs are extended structures which take hundreds of years to reach the stage that is so familiar to us nowadays. They are based on calcium skeleton-like structures and constantly built up on polyps. The coral polyps also have a special relation with the sea algae which inhabit them. The plants also render the white corals their beautiful colors.
The phenomenon of bleaching means that corals reject the algae. This reaction comes as a result of the warming waters in the seas and oceans of the world. Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions modified the temperature in the water and raised it by two degrees. The sensitive corals are not fond of temperature changes and don’t handle them well.
In addition to the increase in water temperature, global warming also brought about high acidity. The compounds in the water affect the calcium structure of the corals. So the process of bleaching lets the corals on their own, and acidity attacks their skeleton.
However, specialists are trying to create a type of coral that should resist the abnormally high temperatures in the ocean. Creating them and spreading them around the reefs may help the other corals boost their defense system and acquire resistance.
The plan of repopulating the coral reefs is just one of the strategies suggested by environmentalists. They also hope to come up with new methods that will pay off. The situation of the coral reefs is desperate and urgent action is needed in order to save the most active ecosystems underwater.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia