Coral The Ocean's "canary in the coal mine"

What is a "canary in the coal mine"?

A "canary in the coal mine" signifies a warning for something dangerous that is to happen in the future. It derives from when miners use to take a canary in the coal mine. If the bird died or was unhealthy, they could use it as a signal that something in the coal mine could affect their health and thus they had time to escape.

About coral

Coral is related to sea anemones, although they are different, they both have the polyp structure which helps them to catch small organisms as food. There are over 2,500 different species of coral. They can be categorized into soft or had coral. Hard coral has a hard outer layer while soft coral has a flexible skeleton.


Coral can reproduce either asexually or sexually. Sexual reproduction is usually for increasing genetic diversity, while asexual reproduction serves to reproduce the size of the colony of coral faster thus producing a coral reef.

Bleached Coral

Causes for Coral Bleaching

Coral bleaching is when coral turns white in color. Color bleaching happens when the coral is put under a lot of stress due to drastic temperature, light or nutrient changes in the water. Coral depends on algae to live, under stress, it releases all its algae and turns white. This does not mean the coral is dead, it is just under stress but it makes the coral more prone to death because it loses its food source and become vulnerable to diseases. Coal is very prone to bleaching due to the fact that it has a very temperature frame that it can survive.

This makes climate change the main reason for coral bleaching! Corals can only survive in a very limited temperature range. Coral is very important because it makes up for 25% of marine species habitats.

"When you have really hot summers, you can expect that corals will get stressed, and bleaching is likely" -Stephanie Wear
"As climate change continues, bleaching will become more common, and the overall health of coral reefs will decline." -Teach Ocean Science

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef. It is in Australia and is larger than the Great Wall of China, it is also the only living thing that can be seen from space.

Due to rising sea temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef has undergone a huge amount of bleaching which puts the coral reef in danger of illnesses that may cause its death. And the bleaching is expected to keep happening as long as temperatures keep rising. Once ocean acidification reaches its threshold, it is also expected to bleach coral reefs everywhere.

Is it too late?

No! It is not too late to rescue coral reefs, just because they have been bleached does not mean that they are dead. There is still a chance that they will be able to survive if we try to rescue them by reducing our CO2 emissions and trying to prevent climate change.

Use less water... this reduces the amount of run off water and waster water that ends up polluting the ocean

Use less carbon emitting vehicles whenever possible to try to reduce your carbon footprint

What is being done...

The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan was put in place by the Australian and Queensland government in March 2015. It is a plan to preserve the Great Barrier Reef by monitoring it as well as working with companies and communities to reduce runoff and carbon emissions. Its goal is that by 2050 the Great Barrier Reef will be back to its healthy state.

What can YOU do to save coral?



Created with images by TravelingShapy - "corals"

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