Keep the Coral Floral!

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Parker Willis, Contributor

Recently our world has lost nearly half of our coral reefs. This is due to climate change or global warming since corals are a very sensitive animal, they live in between 73-84 degrees Fahrenheit. If the coral reaches near or over the max limit they will begin a process called bleaching. This process begins with the coral expelling the algae living inside its tissue which then turns the coral completely white. Corals can survive bleaching but it is unlikely for them to do so. If they do survive it is less likely for them to reproduce. Coral is not a plant or a rock, but in fact, it is an animal. Reefs, which are mainly made up of coral, support the entire marine ecosystem. If the corals die, the reefs die, and then the fish die; thousands of organisms rely on corals.

So why are the corals dying? There are many reasons which include pollution, over fishing, and the digging of canals which have subjected the percentages of coral to such low numbers. The main reason for coral bleaching is because of water temperatures rising. This warming also ruins the symbiosis between corals and their food source which can starve them to death, so when water temperatures rise, the corals lose their food source and they bleach.

But why should we even care that corals around the world are dying? How does that affect our lives on land? Corals are the most diverse ecosystem on earth. They dramatically reduce the destruction of  wave action and tropical storms and provide a habitat like shelter for thousands of marine organisms which provides food for millions of different living creatures. Corals can provide jobs and income to local economies from recreation, fishing, and tourism. On average, corals generate nearly thirty billion dollars a year through fisheries, tourism, and protection from coastal storms; they hold a quarter of all marine life.

People can do a lot each day to help out the coral on a grander scale. They can start by conserving water because the more people conserve, the less runoff goes into the ocean. Another thing to do is not to litter on the beach, but instead do volunteer work to clean up the beaches. The next easy solution is to simply plant a tree. This will contribute to the global warming of our planet and also reduce runoff into the ocean which affects the ocean the most. Planting and conserving plant life will help reverse the global warming and cool the water for the corals. One last thing is to spread the word around the world so they too can also help out the coral. Not many people know about the disaster going on underneath the oceans that can soon affect them if nothing changes. So what happens if people cant save the corals? Bad news for corals means bad news for humanity. A large food source will die, and thousands of jobs will disappear with the corals. Now the only question is will people come together to help save the coral reefs?

Sources:

https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/03/21/why-is-so-much-of-the-worlds-coral-dying

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/great-barrier-reef-dying-climate-change-caused-decrease-in-new-coral-study-says/