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The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

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Aubrey Lee-Smith

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

Coral Bleaching
Life Webs
Reefs support 1/4 of all marine life
Over 500 species of fish
At least 60 different corals
350 species of mollusks
Variety of dolphins
Sea turtles, rays and eels
American saltwater crocodile
Morelet’s crocodile
West Indian manatees
Whale sharks
Coral can only live in specific conditions
If the corals surroundings aren't how they should be, the coral gets stressed
When the coral gets stressed, the zoox either leave or are repelled by the coral
Without the zoox, the coral can live for a while, but they will die if the zoox do not return
What causes Coral Bleaching?
There are many things that cause coral to become over stressed
Some include ocean acidification, changes in salinity, and polluted waters
#1 cause is rise in sea temperature
Rise in sea temperature is caused by the atmosphere getting warmer
The rise in temperature is because of the greenhouse effect
Coral Reef Food Web
What Can We Do?
Reduce our output of greenhouse gases
Bike more, drive less
Use clean energy
Install solar panels
Plant a tree
Change lightbulbs to CFL bulbs
Use less heating and AC
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
Energy Flows
Producers: Phytoplankton, Algae, Sea grasses
1st Level Consumers: Zooplankton, Queen Conch
2nd Level Consumers: West Indian manatee, Splendid toadfish, Nassau grouper, Whale shark, Rainbow Parrotfish
3rd Level Consumers: Sea Turtles, American crocodile, Morelet's crocodile, Great White shark
Decomposers: Crabs, Sea Cucumbers, Snails
Coral is made up of colonies of tiny polyps
When polyps die, their skeletons build up to form the base of coral
Some feed on plankton and small fish
Coral is naturally white
Zooxanthellae (zoox) is algae that lives on coral and gives coral its color
Zoox is photosynthetic and provides the coral with oxygen, glucose, glycerol, and amino acids.
Before vs After
Carbon Cycle
Burn fossil fuels
Carbon dissolves in water
Removed from the water during calcification
Corals turn calcium carbonate from liquid form to solid form
Fixes carbon
Calcium carbonate used in the exoskeleton
Eventually, dead coral turn into fossil fuels
Full transcript