Coral Reefs. Facts about Coral Reefs. Largest living thing on Earth Covers less than 1% of the Earth’s Surface Needs sunlight to grow. Did You Know?. Coral are animals Plants live inside of them Two kinds Soft corals Hard corals (These build reefs!) Made of tiny polyps.
Facts about Coral Reefs • Largest living thing on Earth • Covers less than 1% of the Earth’s Surface • Needs sunlight to grow
Did You Know? • Coral are animals • Plants live inside of them • Two kinds • Soft corals • Hard corals (These build reefs!) • Made of tiny polyps
Coral Reefs- Underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals Types of Reefs
Fringing Reefs • Grow close to shore • Shallow lagoon or no lagoon at all • Encounter coastal development and pollution because of being on the Island
Barrier Reefs • Parallel to the shore • Separated by a wide lagoon with deep portions • Example: Great Barrier Reef • Largest barrier reefs develop on edges of continental shelves
Atoll Reefs • Circular reef surrounding a large, deep central lagoon • Common in Indo-Pacific region • 100 miles in diameter
Benefits to the Environment • Used for food and medicine • Economic benefits (tourism, jobs and food) - $375 billion a year • Breeding grounds for marine animals (fish) • Protects shores from waves and storms • Home & shelter to 25% of the fish in the ocean
Major Threats to Coral Reefs • Ocean Water Pollution- oil, pesticides, and sewage contaminate the oceans • Global Warming- Increase in carbon dioxide leads to rise in ocean water temp • Bleaching- Algae that lives with the coral are sensitive to temperature. • Leave coral behind when too warm • Color disappears • Coral becomes a white “dead looking coral”
Threats (Continued) • Human Activities - Dropping of boat anchors - Lobster traps - Fishing line - Fishing nets • We are in danger of losing 70% of the World’s Coral Reefs in the next 50 years.
What can WE do to save Coral Reefs? • Reduce Pollution - Reduce, Reuse , and Recycle, to eliminate negative impacts of pollution on health of oceans • Walk, bike or ride the bus • Conserve water: Less water we use, less wastewater that finds its way into oceans.