Coral Reef Bleaching By: Ashley Winge
Background: • Ecosystems: • Coral Reefs are located in tropical oceans near the equator. • Population size: • Over 75% of the worlds Coral Reef is threatened. • Historical References: • In 1998 coral reefs around the world experienced the most extensive and severe bleaching in recorded history. Coral bleaching was reported in 60 countries and island nations at sites in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean and Caribbean.
Description: • What Happens? • Coral bleaching is a process in which the coral colonies lose their color, either due to the loss of pigments by microscopic algae living in symbiosis with their host organisms or because these zooxanthellae have been expelled. • Causes: • Elevated temperature, high solar irradiance, and sometimes disease. • Things at fault: • Over fishing, marine-based pollution, and costal development. • Response: • Not known • Cleanup: • There is not really a way to clean it up but there are many ways to help prevent it from happening. • Such as… do not use as much water; less run-off & Report dumping or illegal activity.
Environmental Concepts: • Biomes: • This is a type of biome that we learned about but we never learned about how it bleaches when the temperature changes. • This also happens from over fishing, marine based pollution and costal development.
Damage Report: • Lives lost: • There are no lives lost due to coral reef bleaching. • Ecosystems destroyed: • Short-term effects- Bleaching inhibits coral growth, but this is temporary if the stresses are removed and normal levels of zooxanthellae return. • Long-term effects- This affects the fish living in the reefs.
Lessons Learned: • They have discovered that fishing is one of the main causes leading to coral reef bleaching. • Laws: • The Coral Reef Conservation Act (CRCA) was established in 2000 for the purposes of preserving coral reef ecosystems, promoting wise management and gaining better information on the current condition of coral reefs. • The National Coral Reef Action Strategy was developed to establish goals for research, monitoring and conservation, along with addressing regional and international issues. • The Coral Reef Conservation Program and Coral Reef Conservation Fund both provide financial assistance for coral reef projects.
Could this happen again? • This still happens everyday, it will never completely stop. • It can happen anywhere, where there are coral reefs and warm temperatures.
Sources: • http://www.mbgnet.net/salt/coral/where.htm • http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/02/25/world.coral.reefs/ • http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/early-warning-signs-of-global-2.html • http://www.atolls-polynesie.ird.fr/ecorecat/ukblanch.htm • http://www.blue-oceans.com/scuba/coral_bleaching/25ways.html • http://coral.aims.gov.au/info/bleaching-environment.jsp • http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v315/p237-247/