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.