Coral Reef Damage

This is what coral reefs shouldn't look like
This is what coral reefs should look like!

What Are Coral Reefs?

What are Coral Reefs?:

Coral reefs are fascinating ecosystems. They are considered the marine equivalent of a tropical rain forest. Cover about 2% of the ocean bottom, Coral Reefs are the homes to 25% of all marine species.

What Causes Coral Reef Damage?

  • Overfishing: This affects the ecological balance of coral reef communities, warping the food chain and causing effects far beyond the directly overfished population.
  • Careless Tourism: Careless boating, diving, snorkeling, and fishing. People who touch the reefs, stir up sediment, collect coral, and drop anchors on reefs. Some tourist resorts have been built directly on top of reefs, and some resorts empty their sewage or other wastes directly into water surrounding coral reefs causing them to be damaged.
  • Pollution: Urban and industrial waste, sewage, agrochemicals, and oil pollution are poisoning reefs. These toxins are dumped directly into the ocean or carried by river systems from sources upstream. Some pollutants, such as sewage and runoff from farming, increase the level of nitrogen in seawater, causing an overgrowth of algae, which 'smothers' reefs by cutting off their sunlight.
  • Coral mining: Live coral is removed from reefs for use as bricks, road-fill, or cement for new buildings. Corals are also sold as souvenirs to tourists and to exporters who don't know or don't care about the longer term damage done, and harvested for the live rock trade.
  • Climate Change: Corals cannot survive if the water temperature is too high. Global warming has already led to higher levels of coral bleaching, and this is predicted to increase in severity in the coming decades. Such bleaching events may be the final nail in the coffin for already stressed coral reefs.
  • How Can We Help?

  • Recycle
  • Don't pollute the oceans
  • support conservation groups
  • cut down chemical use
  • Don't touch the reefs when scuba diving
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