Nature’s skillful Engineers

The most skillful engineers evolved about 500 million years ago. The “rainforests of the sea” are miraculous ecosystem engineers, building nature’s most diverse and heavenly structures that provide food and shelter for so many forms of life.

Coral Reefs are among the most productive and biodiverse ecosystems  on the planet.

Why are they endangered?

They are known as the rainforests of the sea, not just because of their species diversity but also because they are just as endangered as the ones on land. In fact, they are critically endangered!

Major Threats

  • Reef Bleaching
  • Ever increasing global temperatures
  • Increases acidic conditions
  • Water pollution
  • Poison or dynamite fishing
  • Overfishing
  • Coral mining and harvesting
  • Extremely low tides
  • High exposure to sunlight
  • Careless tourism
Coral reefs take up less than 1 percent of the ocean floor, but are home to a quater of marine animals including molluscs, crustaceans, snakes and other reptiles, and 5,000 species of fish.

What is Coral Bleaching?

Photosynthetic zooxanthellae live in coral tissues and are the reason for the vibrant colours in the corals. If corals feel stressed due to any changes in their habitat, they expel the symbiotic algae, causing them to turn completely white.

The leading cause of coral bleaching is climate change. A warming planet leads to a warming ocean, and a change in water temperature, as little as 2⁰F, can cause coral to drive out algae.

It is sad to acknowledge that the coral reefs may completely disappear by the year 2100 or even before if not cared for.
Along with the aesthetic beauty, about 20,000 different species would be wiped off. We shouldn’t let it slip that far, considering the fact that we already are the cause of the 6th mass extinction, precisely the Anthropocene extinction event.

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