Thursday, January 23, 2020

Coral Bleaching Essay -- Geology

Coral Bleaching Abstract Coral reefs have been called the rainforests of the ocean and are one of the most diverse and important ecosystems on the planet. This paper will explore how global warming has effected these fragile ecosystems. It will focus on the impact of increasing ocean temperatures on coral reefs. Coral Reefs Coral reefs exist globally from 30N to 30S latitude and have existed in some form on Earth for over 200 million years. Over 2500 species of coral have been identified 1000 of which are reef building hard coral. Reefs are actually limestone structures produced by small animals called coral polyps. These polyps contain unicellular plants (algae) called zooxanthellae in their tissue. They have a symbiotic relationship which means, "living together." During the day the zooxanthellae rise to the surface of the animal and produce food by photosynthesis. At night the polyp extends a stinging, multitenticled mouth that feeds on any planktonic animals. They both benefit from the waste products of the other. They also work together to capture calcium carbonate from seawater and convert it into the hard limestone structures in which they live. Because corals survive due to this fragile relationship, they are very sensitive and tolerate relatively narrow ranges of water temperature, salinity and transparency. Coral reefs are estimated to cover less than .2% of the ocean floor but contain approximately 25% of the ocean’s species. They provide protection for shorelines, reducing erosion. They also give food, shelter and protection to almost one million marine species and act as a nursery for growing fish. Humans benefit directly from coral reefs. They supply us with food, jobs (through fishing and tourism) a... ...astrous to lose the existing coral reefs of the world. References 1. William Fitt. Bleaching of Symbiotic Algae Available 2. Reef Relief. Reef Relief Available 3. Knauer Communication. Global Warming is a Problem Available 4. Michael Van Woert. ORAD Available 5. Indiana University. Reef Resource Page Available 6. Ingrid Guch. NOAA Available 7. PCRF. Planetary Coral Reef Foundation Available 8. The Coral Reef Alliance. Get the Facts on Coral Reefs Available

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