Coral Reef Destruction Magazine June 2014 - Page 6

Climate Change's

Effects on

Coral reefs

Coral Reefs are delicate ecosystems that have low tolerance to changes in water temperature, salinity, UV radiation, opacity, and nutrient quantities (6) any changes upset the balance. One of the most devastating effects of climate change happens when “water temperatures stay higher than usual for many weeks, the zooxanthellae they depend on for some of their food leaves their tissue. Without zooxanthellae, corals turn white because zooxanthellae give corals their color. White, unhealthy corals are called bleached. Bleached corals are weak and less able to combat disease (8).”

Coral can be stressed out by environmental changes and chemical imbalances, when a coral gets stressed it loses its vibrant color and disintegrates. In short, it sacrifices itself to return the pH levels in the water to normal.

What hurts coral reefs?

What will

happen when

there isn't any coral?

Coral reefs aren't indestructible

Bleaching is the first stage, and once a coral is bleached, it is brittle and easily broken. If the ocean has high acidity levels, the coral will disintegrate, releasing calcium carbonate to combat the dissolved Co2 in the water.

Coral Reefs are beautiful ecosystems that provide economic benefits to local communities from tourism. They are Go-To destinations on vacations, and cities near coral reefs thrive during the tourist season.But 20% of the world’s coral reefs have been effectively destroyed and show no immediate prospects of recovery (5).

The reef becomes a wasteland when nothing grows, leaving the sandy bottom bare and easy to erode and dangerous for fish species to hide.