Coral Reefs

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Coral Reefs

Review of the Literature

What are Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are said to be the foundation for many marine species, and are a crucial support for human life. The coral reef ecosystem is an a diverse collection of species that interact with each other and the physical environment. Coral reefs are the homes of many species including crabs, shrimp, oysters, and clams, foods eaten by humans on a daily basis. Coral reefs are among the most diverse and biologically complex ecosystems on earth, supporting 33% of marine fish species. Research has shown that there exist a host of dangers for these precious species that are living in our very oceans and alongside our seashores, and these are some pertinent questions that need to be addressed in order to establish whether coral reefs are needed for our future existence and to global warming:

1. The habitat of the coral reef?
2. Environmental problems presently facing the habitat
3.What is coral bleaching?
4. Coral bleaching and our global environment?

Corals in Crisis
The habitat of the Coral Reef

According to Dustan, “Since the late 1970s, reefs across the world have been dying at an unprecedented rate, and it only seems to be getting worse. Dustan points out that in the Florida Keys alone extensive reef monitoring studies conducted by the EPA and other agencies have shown that the reefs lost more than 38% of their living coral cover from 1996 to 1999. Carysfort Reef lost over 90% of its coral cover from 1974 to 1999.” The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, the single largest coral reef monitoring effort in the world, reported in October 2000 at the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium in Bali, Indonesia, that of all the reefs they monitor worldwide, 27 percent have been lost and another 32 percent could be lost in the next 20-30 years (Pockley 2000).

Coral Reefs and our Environment
The coral bleaching response to climate change first appeared on the policy stage in the...
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