Coral Reef Bleaching

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Coral Reef Bleaching
Coral reefs are by far one of the world's most productive and beautiful habitats. They also provide billions of dollars in economic benefits each year globally. There are so many different organisms in these reefs that scientists have yet to finish counting them. Corals are having the toughest time trying to survive because of bleaching occurring in the reef systems. Bleaching is a term used to describe the harming of zooxanthalle algae, which gives corals their color and food source. When corals loose their zooxanthalle algae they appear white. Global warming has been known to be the reason behind coral reef bleaching.

Since corals are very sensitive to temperature change an increase or decrease of one degree Celsius can trigger them to bleach. Soon after severe bleaching they often die. When temperatures exceed maximum levels for long enough the relationship between the zooxanthalle algae and the corals breaks down and bleaching results. Rapid temperature changes may be just a tiny fraction that proves to be the first ecological warning of global warming.

Coral reefs face yet another threat generated by carbon dioxide pollution. Pollution by humans has directly and indirectly caused the death of many corals. When carbon dioxide mixes in with the ocean, it produces carbonic acid, which corrodes the beautiful structures of coral reefs. Acidic water makes it hard for these corals to survive. As oceans become more and more acidic, coral reef ecosystems could suffer indefinitely.

Temperature changes and pollution is just a couple of the many factors that contribute to coral reef bleaching. A great deal of things can be done to help preserve this natural beauty. Such as, long-term monitoring, coral surveys, water testing for salinity, pH(acidity), depth, temperature, and also recording climate data. Another good way to help is to create policies that manage pollution, over fishing, soil erosion, physical damage from...
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