The shoreline is vital in keeping the ocean healthy. Other than that, it’s a great filter for the ecosystem, serves as habitat, provides places for leisure and so many more. There are a lot of reasons to protect it as it is vulnerable to destruction.
This is where the coral reefs come in. They shield the shoreline in many ways. You can find out more in these 15 Importance of Coral Reefs in Shoreline Protection. The coral reefs minimise the harm that puts the shoreline in danger.
1. First Line of Defense
The coral reefs serve as the first defense of the shoreline. They are the primary protection as they are able to take on the waves or the storms that come in from the oceans. Without the coral reefs, the impact to the shoreline will be very severe.
2. Break Big Waves
Big waves can be a huge threat to the shoreline. They are powerful and can erode most of the materials that make up most of the shoreline. The coral reefs are important in breaking those big waves. They are broken down into smaller ones which won’t cause too much destruction.
3. Weaken Powerful Waves
Waves can be fast moving as they carry a lot of energy in them. But once they hit coral reefs, most of their power will be gone. They become weaker as they reach closer to the shoreline. Weak waves won’t affect the structure and the shape of the shoreline.
Read more: Effects of Ocean Waves on Shorelines
4. Lessen Storm Damage
Storms can be very dangerous along the shoreline. They will have high wind speed and powerful waves all around. All those things can bring destruction to the shoreline and cause even more devastation into the mainland. But the strong structure of coral reefs can prevent that. They can lessen the damage caused by storms such as hurricanes and may even protect the shoreline from tsunamis.
5. Reduce Acidity
Acidity can have a negative effect on the shoreline. It can make it dirty, unhealthy and, more importantly, ruin its composition. Coral reefs are able to absorb some of the excess nutrients that are in the water. Thus, the acidity of the ocean water won’t be too much and won’t cause harm to the shoreline.
6. Maintain Sediment Composition
The shoreline needs sediment to maintain its structure. Coral reefs can help to maintain the sediment composition by holding them back from being carried away by the waves. The reefs are able to lessen the amount of sediment loss with the help of the sea grass that grow nearby.
7. Production of Sand
Coral reefs actually help in the production of sand along the shoreline. The reefs contribute in a high rate to provide carbonate sands. Those sands are often seen on the beaches. Thus, the coral reefs maintain the shape and the structure of the shoreline through the sand they give.
8. Protect Properties along the Shoreline
Properties that are built along the shoreline must be protected too. When they are damaged or no longer inhabitable, then the shoreline may face an even worse situation. The damaged buildings can cause harm to the shoreline by making it dirty or contaminated.
When the properties are gone, the income that is used in shoreline protection may also disappear. So coral reefs are needed for the first defense in keeping the shoreline safe.
9. Support Various Species of Corals to Grow
The more corals grow along the shoreline, the better it is for the shoreline. Healthy coral reefs can support various species of corals to grow. It’s an important move to make because some corals are very strong such as the Elkhorn corals. They can lend their strength to reduce high amount of erosion, break waves and so many more.
10. Habitat to Marine Plants
Coral reefs can work together with marine plants as well. Coral reefs provide the right environment for marine plants to grow in a huge amount. The most common marine plants are seagrass and algae. As they live among the corals, they also play a role in protecting the shoreline. For instance, the seagrass can decrease the amount of sand that can get swept away by the waves.
11. Conservation Area along the Shoreline
Rare or cultural marine creatures often find their home in the coral reefs. As a result, those marine creatures can make the whole coral reefs to become a conservation that deserves to be highly protected. This can give positive impact to the shoreline as they also face less threat from any sort of destruction.
12. Maintain Biodiversity
Biodiversity is all about the different species that live in the ocean ecosystem. Together, they work in a complex web. As they help in making the ocean stay healthy, they can lower the chance of ocean acidity or storms that seriously threaten shoreline protection. Biodiversity relies heavily on coral reefs as the corals provide them with food and shelter.
13. Slows Down Climate Change
The coral reefs are very sensitive to climate change but they can help in slowing it down. As the reefs help in stabilising the health of the ocean, it supports the ocean to maximise its ability to maintain normal climate. This will reduce the chances of acidity or extreme cyclones that can ruin the shoreline.
14. Protect Shoreline with Mangrove Trees
Research have shown that coral reefs often grow among the roots of mangrove trees. They are also the most resilient ones to bleaching. Thus the coral reefs and the mangrove trees work with each other to keep the shoreline maintain its structure. Moreover, the mangrove trees are also great in breaking the strong winds from storms that can affect the shoreline.
15. Maintain Stability
Shoreline that is protected by coral reefs have a higher stability than those that have none. Stability means less occurrence of erosion which can cause changes to the shoreline. Live coral reefs give the most contribution to reducing the risk of erosion to the shoreline.
Coral reefs can work alone to protect the shoreline but it can also work simultaneously with others in the ocean ecosystem. The absence of coral reefs will result in the devastation of the shoreline.