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17 Importance of Coral in the Great Barrier Reef

by Fitriani

Although corals may seem like plants, they are actually animals. Corals are closely related to the jellyfish species and live in colonies. These corals breathe life into Great Barrier Reef. The corals don’t exist in a large population but they do give great impacts to the world. These 17 Importance of Coral in the Great Barrier Reef will reveal why corals are crucial to the reef. See the positive impacts that they give to marine species and humans as well.

1. Serves as a Habitat

Corals act as the perfect habitat for many marine species. The small ones need them the most such as shrimps. When the marine species can thrive in the corals, the Great Barrier Reef also benefits as the species variety is maintained. This will ensure that the reef will stay healthy and alive.

Also read: Importance of Structural Complexity in Coral Reef Ecosystem

2. Brings in Tourists

Tourists love to visit the Great Barrier Reef. There, they can observe all the marine creatures that make up a portion of the ocean. They can also see all the different kinds of corals that exist in the reef. As more and more tourists are eager to see the corals, more income can be brought into the area. The money can keep the Great Barrier Reef safe and provide more protection.

3. Maintains Biodiversity

The corals in the Great Barrier Reef are responsible for the biodiversity. They act similar to the rainforests on land. Without the corals, many species will die and the reef might also face the same fate. The corals will make sure that species can continue living in the reef.

Read more: Conservation of Coral Reef

4. Filters Water

The Great Barrier Reef is extremely vulnerable to polluted water. Any changes in the water composition will cause damage. Thankfully, the corals are there to save it. Corals act as a water filter for the reef. They work in a similar way as sponges. All the dangerous chemicals in the water are absorbed so that the ocean water around the reef is clean.

5. Controls Carbon Dioxide Level

For the past years, there have been a significant increase of carbon dioxide. As the level continues to increase, our climate and our oceans are under serious threat. But corals contribute to regulating the level of the carbon dioxide. Their shells are made up of limestone that absorbs the carbon dioxide around the reef.

Read about: Main Elements in Ocean Water

6. Makes Up the Sea Floor

Some corals of the Great Barrier Reef make up a small percentage of the sea floor. They can protect the sea floor from harm as the floor won’t be too exposed. Many marine organisms rely on the floor for shelter too. Some camouflage themselves into the sediments among the corals to hide from predators

7. Prevents Damage Along the Shorelines

Sometimes waves would bring in sediments into the shorelines. Other times, they’ll take away most of the sands from the shorelines. The corals in the Great Barrier Reef can prevent the shoreline from facing a serious damage. They act as a barrier that will keep the shorelines in a healthy shape.

Also read: Human Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef

8. Cultural Value

In some places, corals have become a part of many people’s lives. They provide livelihood, insight or further knowledge into the natural state of our world. In some way, the corals have a cultural value to them. Without the corals, people will lose a rich source of life.

9. Protection from Storms

Storms can cause chaos to the Great Barrier Reef and the lands nearby. They often happen by extremely strong ocean currents. But the waves that are caused by the storms are weakened by the corals. So, the final damage to the reef and the nearby land can be reduced.

10. Prevents Beach Erosions

Naturally, beach erosions cannot be prevented from happening. However, the corals in the Great Barrier Reef can lessen the frequency. Extreme amount of beach erosions can ruin our recreational places. They will also ruin the habitat of other species that rely on sands to lay their eggs such as the sea turtles.

Read more: Impact Factor of Ocean and Coastal Management

11. Provides Breeding Place

So the sea turtles need sands to lay their eggs. Well, fish and other marine creatures in the ocean need corals to do the same. They can safely lay their eggs inside the corals of the reef. The juveniles can also thrive without worrying too much about the predators coming after them.

12. Medical Advancement

The Great Barrier Reef is able to give scientists a good place for medical research. As the corals are filled with many different organisms, scientists can study them to develop medicines. As of now, they are able to contribute in treating cancer, HIV and heart diseases.

Also read: Importance of Ocean to Economic Development

13. Releases Nutrients for the Ocean

The corals are actually great in providing adequate amount of nutrients for the ocean. Nitrogen, for instance, is needed for the biogeochemical cycle in the ocean. Without the corals in the Great Barrier Reef, the ocean will lose its ability to carry out the cycle.

14. Takes Care of the Marine Food Web

The marine food web will face an issue if corals are not available in the Great Barrier Reef. The marine organisms will have less source of food. The reef will also suffer as the organisms will slowly disappear. The corals immensely contribute to the food web so the marine organisms can continue to thrive.

Read also: Risks to the Great Barrier Reef

15. Provides Jobs to Fishermen

Fish can grow in a healthy population with the presence of corals. Different varieties of fish can be found in the Great Barrier Reef. Local fishermen can catch the fish in a sustainable way as their source of income. Without the corals, the fish population will decrease.

16. Gives Food to People

Around 1 billion of people in the world depends on fish for food. Without the fish, these people will have less source of healthy nutrients from the ocean. To fulfil the demands of fish, corals help by keeping the population in a stable number.

17. Studies on the Condition of the World

The corals in the Great Barrier Reef can serve as study grounds for researchers. Further research on the habitat can give more insight on the current condition of the world. The corals will not only pave the way for protecting other species on Earth. They will also allow researchers to find a way to protect the corals so they can continue to flourish.

Also read: Endangered Species in the Great Barrier Reef

So the corals in the Great Barrier Reef provide many good things for the world. As more and more cases of coral bleaching are happening, it’s a part of our duty to protect the corals. Healthy corals will mean a well balanced ecosystem.

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