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Transcript of Threatened Habitats
By Charlotte Dunn 8A
Coral reefs develop in shallow water, near land, where its warm. They need water clarity, which means easy access to sunlight. Coral reefs mainly develop in seas that are 21•C - 30•C. They are usually found in salt water.
Spatial Dimensions of Coral Reefs
An animal that lives in coral reefs is a scallop. Part of the Bivalve family, a scallop is a soft-boddied animal protected by two hard shells that are fused together. They are never found in freshwater.
Most scallops are found fused to a hard rockface, but some are attatched to a piece of filament, or are not attatched to anything at all. 'Free-living' scallops are capable of swimming short distances or even migrating across the ocean floor. They swim by using a type of jet propulsion, created by clapping their shells together repeatedly.
The Purple Sea Urchin is a small, spiny, hard-shelled sea urchin that lives on the sea floor. The Purple Sea Urchin Is about 8.5 cm across; the spines are about 1 cm long. It ranges from a light purple to a deep reddish-purple color (the babies are green).
They are invertebrae, globular, and move very slowly along the sea floor.
Purple Sea Urchin
Phytoplankton are self-feeding members of the plankton family. They are a key part of the ocean ecosystem. Most phytoplankton are invisible to the naked eye, but in large groups they look like a coloured patch on the surface of the water.
Phytoplankton are primary consumers, and are responsible for the creation of organic compounds and dissolving carbon dioxide in the water.
Seagrasses are flowering plants belonging to the Alismatales order. They only grow in salt water. There are 12 genera of seagrass with at least 60 known species.
They are called sea
because in most species the leaves are long and the plants create 'meadows' on the sea floor.
Like most plants, they photosynthesise, which is why they are mainly found in coral reefs.
Why are coral reefs threatened?
One of the main threats to coral reefs is climate change. Warming waters breaks down the relationship between corals and their simbiotic microalgae. The algae is what gives coral their colours, so this is called coral bleaching.
Another threat is ocean acidification. More and more carbon dioxide is released into the air and the ocean, causing seawater to become more acidic. This dissolves coral skeletons, which are the main structure of the reefs. If this is not fixed, experts predict the oceans could be 150% more acidic by the end of this century, making it almost impossible for coral to grow at all.
What are current strategies?
A strategy to help with the loss of coral is the development of 'super-coral', a scientifically altered coral that is extremely resistant to rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. The scientists working on the super-coral have experimented by taking samples of abundant, healthy corals and exposing them to the conditions they could experience in the changing oceans; raising the temperature or lowering the pH, then bringing the water back to normal and studying the effect. The aim here is to help the super-coral adapt to the changing conditions of the sea, and to make it easier for normal coral to reproduce.
Examples of Coral Reefs
The Palancar Reef, San Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico
Magic Passage and Planet Rock, Papua New Guinea
Grand Central Station and Chimneys, Fiji
What can we do to help?
The less water we waste, the less runoff and wastewater flows into our oceans.
Walk, or ride a bike instead of taking the car or bus to help reduce fumes acidifying the oceans.
Dispose of your rubbish properly:
Put things in the proper bins and don't litter to reduce rubbish pollution in oceans.
What are Coral Reefs?
Coral reefs are large underwater structures built on the skeleton of coral, a marine invertebrae animal. They are home to many plants and animals and are renowned for their beautiful and vibrant colours.