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Coral Bleaching

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Jessica Wong

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of Coral Bleaching

Solutions to the Problem Coral bleaching is the whitening of coral skeletons due to the expulsion or abandonment of zooxanthellae from coral tissue Causes of Bleaching: There exists many causes of coral bleaching. Though there are many natural causes, the current bleaching of coral is due to human disturbance. Why Is This Such A Serious Problem? Coral are vital to the lives of many other marine species. Around one third of all marine life reside in coral reefs and rely on it for their own survival-they are also important feeding and breeding grounds. Coral also recycle nutrients and help keep a very large and delicate marine ecosystem at balance.

Destruction of coral reefs will cause a chain reaction of deaths. This disrupts not only the food chain but may result in an increase of a certain species (everything becomes out of whack.) By:
Nick, Jessica,Bianca, and Ashley Coral Reef
Bleaching This is an example of a HEALTHY reef What Is Coral? Coral Reefs have a symbiotic relationship with certain types of algae (called zooxanthallae). They highly depend on the algae that also lives in the coral Corals are colonies of tiny invertebrate animals called polyps which secrete a hard limestone/calcium carbonate skeleton. The zooxanthellae that live inside the coral give them their distinct colours; the skeletons themselves are naturally white. Furthermore, they provide nutrients, oxygen, and recycle waste for the coral. Therefore, the loss of algae means DEATH. What Exactly Is Coral Bleaching? Coral Reefs are very sensitive to their environment. Therefore, usually (if not always) coral bleaching is stress induced. They are susceptible to many diseases if stressed out and are easily destroyed. Natural Human Old age
Pounding waves
Marine animals
Bacteria, viruses, fungi (disease & infection)
Increase of a particular nutrient Erosion
Increased salinity
Temperature increase
Increased acidity Consequences/Impacts: Destruction/ loss of coastal habitat (due to erosion)
Loss of biodiversity
Endangerment/extinction of coral reefs and marine species
Increased CO2 concentration
Loss of sand replenishment
Countries depending on income of Reef Tourism & food stability will be in danger
Avg of 375 billion $/yr of coral goods and services will be in decline
Medicine made from reefs will be no more
Disruption of oceanic balance This is an example of a BLEACHED reef Use reef friendly products... Growing new reefs and introducing them to oceans provides new shelter & protection/spawning for fish species. (Same idea as planting new trees). Tourism
Boat propellors & anchors
Oil spills
Reef mining
Toxic run-off
Personal use
Deforestation Participate in reef clean-up projects if possible. A better way is prevention: refrain from littering and dispose of garbage properly. Practice safe diving and snorkeling: choose alternative places to dive, do not disturb coral and proceed with caution; boats should avoid anchoring in areas with reefs control over-fishing and over-mining in the reefs Treat sewage and reduce pollution; move drainage areas to other locations to prevent leaching of toxins and chemicals. Corals aren't the only things affected! Global Extent of Problem 109 countries have a coral reefs
90 countries are losing them Bleaching occurs in 60 reported countries in Red Sea,Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, & the Persian Gulf, Reefs located near areas with active volcanoes are more susceptible to bleaching (ex: Hawaii) Every country that have coral reefs have experienced bleaching in the last 15 years • A major bleaching event happened in the Caribbean in 2005 Every reef in the world has experienced bleaching at some point Indian ocean is one of the worst affected places due to increasing water temperatures
43.9% of coral reefs are located in Indonesia, Australia, and Philippines. These areas have been impacted more harshly by global warming than areas near the equator. There is a lot of bleaching in this region In 2010, as much as 95% of the corals in the Philippines suffered bleaching after a warming event. Bleaching occurs most in areas that experience a prolonged period of increased water temperatures. A pattern was discovered:
Corals living closest to the equator were the first to bleach annually.

Corals that were further from the equator did not begin bleaching regularly until later on. Coral Reefs can heal themselves after bleaching but it requires an extremely long time...which is why we must do everything we can in order to conserve our reefs! Thanks for watching!
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