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13 Threats to Coral Reefs – Effects

by Stephanie

Even though it looks like a plant but coral reef is an animal. Its body is built by tiny animals called polyps that is also known as cnidaria. The group of polyps can be held together because of the existence of calcium carbonate.

This what makes the coral reef is hard as stone and it also protect the coral reef from predators. It lives in the swallow area but there are also some species of them that live in the deeper area, even though only in a small number.

Coral reef also has many benefits such as became a home for some animal (e.g., fish, worms, sponges, mollusk, etc), shoreline protection, and many more. The coral reef is classified as a fragile ecosystem because it is very sensitive. And here are the threats to coral reef that maybe you have never known before.

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1. Coral Bleaching

The coral bleaching is happened because the algae that supplies food for the coral is gone. Even though the coral color is changing into white, the coral can still live even not for long. When they don’t get a proper treatment and nutrient that they need immediately the coral will die because of hunger. Last year, about 90% of coral in The Great Barrier Reef was hit by the bleaching and between 29% – 50% coral died.

2. Sedimentation

The coral reef can’t live in the dirty place. The sedimentation in the ocean that became the threats to coral reef are the sedimentation that can’t be destroy naturally. The sediment it self usually come from the trash that we throw to the sea and drown in there. If the sediment is still increasing every day, surely the coral reef will die because their activity like feeding is being hampered by the existence of sediments.

See also: Ocean Sediments

3. Ocean Acidification 

Basically, when the sea water pH is below neutral or seven it is called as ocean acidification. The acidification it self can be happened because the sea absorbing a high number of carbon dioxide in the air. The sea it self can absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide in the air and this is harming the coral reef ecosystem. When the carbon dioxide level is higher there will be a chemical reaction where the acid is produced. Because of this acid, the sea water pH can be decreased.

See also: Acidification of The Ocean

4. Rising Sea Level 

Because the coral reef is very sensitive, even the sunlight can harm it. When the sea level is rising, it means the sun light intensity will be decreased. The photosynthetic algae inside them will also less producing the food for the coral because they don’t get a proper lighting from the sunlight to produce the food. And again, the coral reef can die because of hunger.

5. Pollution

Pollution such as the factory waste that is thrown to the sea can also kill the coral. This is caused because the waste can change the condition around the coral ecosystem (e.g., pH) and also can be a toxic substance that is eaten by the coral reef. When a strange substance get into the coral reef digestion system and the system can’t handle it, it become a toxic matter that will destroy the whole system.

See also: Ocean Pollution

6. Radiation 

Without the existence of ozone layer in our atmosphere, sunlight can be a dangerous thing for us. Because of the UV radiation, our skin can be burnt so badly and even can make the skin cancer happen to us. Remember that the coral reef is a sensitive creature, so when the temperature of the sea because of the sunlight exposure isn’t suit with the coral reef needs, it can die.

7. Development

To give a better facility to human, the development has started for it. There are a lot of development, such as port, resort, hotel, and many more. Most of the development take place in the coastline where the coral reef exists because most of the coral reef lives in the swallow area. The development makes the coral reef moved from one place to another places and or the development will just simply destroy the coral reef. When the coral reef is moved and doesn’t get a proper treatment, they will surely die slowly.

8. Mining

To get oil, the miner will mine the oil in the sea. And the mining activity usually take place in the depth between swallow to medium sea area where the coral reef mostly exist. When the mining activity started and the mining tools are starting their duty, it will create a shaking in the sea which can disturb the coral reef ecosystem.

9. Overfishing

The fisherman has so many ways to catch the fish in a big amount. Many of them using such a big trawl and also bomb to catch the fish. The using of bomb for sure can also explode the coral reef, and the big trawl sometimes is torn and stuck in the coral reef. By the time it’s stuck in there, it can hampering the growth of the coral reef it self and the growth can’t be maximum.

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10. Storm

The storm that may cause damage in the land also causing the damage in the sea. It can destroy the coral reef population and also their habitat. So, no wonder that the storm it self can cause serious damage that we should fix sooner to minimized the damage that might happen next.

See also: Types of Ocean Storms

11. Disease 

There are more than 20 type of coral disease that have been discovered. The disease is happen because of so many factors such as infection due to the bacteria or virus, extreme sea temperature, excess nutrient, and physical damage. Black band disease is one from many type of disease that is being caused by bacteria named Phormidium corallyticum. It will destroy the coral reef tissues and kill it slowly.

12. Souvenirs 

Many beautiful coral reef is taken and being sold in the market because of its beauty. The people take the the coral reef and preserve it before they sell it. People sell the coral reef in a various shape such as key chain, lamp, accessories, and many more. Because of its beautiful color and pattern, no wonder that the demand of the souvenirs from coral reef is also high.

13. Agricultural Runoff 

All of the water cycle will ended up in the ocean. This is happened because the water can seep into the soil and in some certain kind of ways it can go out to the ocean. The rain also make the water go to the ocean. The rain process also has an evaporation which means, any kind of water can evaporated and being dropped back to the earth anywhere through the cloud.

What makes it dangerous is that, the pesticide that is used by the farmer to grow and protect their plants from the pest can go to the sea both by land or air through the clouds. When this agricultural runoff reach the sea and contaminate it, the pH will be changed a little by little.  This change affect the coral reef condition because coral reef needs a certain pH to live. So, when the pH change, there will be a big possibility that the coral reef go to a further damage.

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This is the end of today’s article of threats to coral reefs, I hope you enjoy it! And thank you for still following our website and read every article until the end. Hopefully, every article that we serve to you can help you to know more about what’s happening in the ocean. And also helping you to care more about our environment.

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