Coral Reefs

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 9:32 PM

"Reefs at Risk   The world’s most fragile marine ecosystems are in decline."

Photograph ©Armando Jenick  






 Coral reefs are such a mystery to the average person. Many people have  never had the chance to experience one up close and so many might not understand the need for them or how they can affect so many different   things in the ocean, if they are not cared for and preserved. 

There are  deep water reefs and shallow water reefs. The shallow water reefs  "support a quarter of all marine species" and can be compared to the  delicate nature of a rainforest. Shallow water reefs are in tropical waters  where water deep coral reefs are in cold water and are at depths of 500 meters or better. The importance of shallow water reefs to biodiversity is one the great reasons for understanding them and their care however, it is that they are the "primary production" of inorganic matter to organic making them more of an impact on the "food chain". While it is true that a majority of our deep water reefs give us the food from many of the fish we are familiar with such as " sea bass, snapper, porgy, rock shrimp and calico shrimp"(http://coris.noaa.gov/about/deep/)  it is the shallow reefs that are more diverse in productivity. 

 When coral reefs change so does the type of plants and animals that live in the waters changing forever the types of fish that people rely on and changing the circle of life. These shifts and changes are a direct result of land uses and abuses that affect the water ways which include the change in weather and temperature of the planet.

"Coral reefs protect coastlines, generate hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue, and, according to the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation, provide the basis for 10 percent of the world’s diet. In Earth’s oceans, they are the charismatic canaries in a coal mine—10 percent have already been lost, and an estimated 60 percent more are at risk."

 We can each make a difference from the basic simple things we do to elevate the strain on our improper usage of land resources which will enhance and allow for the shallow reefs to regenerate and not loose the lush and diverse creatures that live in such a grand environment.




Blog post by Michelle Connolly
http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/07/reefs-at-risk#article-images


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