Coral Reefs cover less than 2% of the ocean floor but are home to 25% of marine species.
Corals are similar to the sea anemone and are made up of polyps, which can have a calcium carbonate frame.
Pollution and global warming are killing corals due to an increase in dissolved CO2 and temp., and lower pH in the ocean.
This causes corals to expel their photosynthetic algae. They are now "bleached" and dying.
Dissolved CO2 also slows down the growth of the calcium backbone, necessary for many corals.
Let's put it into the perspective of the Great Barrier Reef, which is now considered terminal.
This reef is the largest living structure on Earth, which brings in $5 billion/year out the estimated $172 billion/year from all reefs.
Economies dependent upon tourism a reef provides, will suffer due to the loss of corals.
It takes at least a decade for bleached corals to recover, but with the expected rise in temperature, damage will continue to happen.
Entire ecosystems will only be a memory if global warming and pollution continues.
BUT YOU CAN HELP PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING!
Get involved! Help pick up trash! Plant a tree! Recycle!
Use less water! Print less paper! Ride the bus or a bike!
If you're a snorkeler or diver, practice proper reef etiquette!
Change starts with us. Spread the word.