Coral Reef Destruction By Lauren Peak and Jade Ratterman


“Coral reefs - made from calcium carbonate secreted by tiny corals - are among the most biodiverse, or species-rich, habitats in the world. They support thousands of species, including tropical fish, whales, dolphins, turtles, birds, sea snakes and sea grass.” Sadly, today, they are one of the most harmed ecosystems. They provide food, jobs, and medical help for humans, along with being the home to thousands of different species of sea life and protection to coastlines. Once we lose the reefs, life of the ocean and of humans will be changed significantly.


Pollution. Increased carbon dioxide in the ocean seem to have been dissolving the skeleton of the coral, making them much weaker. Oil spills, waste dumping, and other hazards to the environment by humans have lead to water contamination in the ocean. When homeostasis on the reef is lost, the algae growth becomes uncontrollable, therefore not allowing the coral to receive enough oxygen. This makes the reefs full of Nitrogen and Carbon dioxide.


Fishing. Through unfriendly fishing techniques and overfishing, the coral reefs are being destroyed. Fishing methods like cyanide fishing and blast fishing is terrible for the reefs. Cyanide fishing is when fishers spray cyanide into crevices in the reefs and on the fish, stunning them, and making them easier to catch. During this process, smaller organisms like coral polyps are killed. Blast fishing is when explosives are sent down to the reefs, possibly destroying the reef’s surface.


Global Warming & Ozone Depletion. Global warming has advanced to oceanic warming. These factors, combined with the depletion of the ozone layer and increased ultraviolet radiation has lead to a what is known as “coral bleaching”. This is when the coral polyps become stressed at the change in temperature or the UV radiation and remove zooxanthellae, which is critical for their survival. This explains there bleached color and often leads to their death.

Coral Bleaching

Tourist Economies. Coral is often pulled from the reefs and sold as souvenirs. In poorer countries, septic waste generally leaks into the ocean, destroying fragile coral. Boats and anchors drag across the reefs along with docks being built over them. Coral reefs can also be affected by careless divers who accidentally kick the coral. Tourism has caused severe damage to the coral reefs.

Coral Souvenirs

Environmental Impact-

Affect Sea Life. Provides as a “nursery” for many different types of sea life. 4,000 species of fish, 800 different species of coral, and many other species. Some of the species include: sharks, eels, urchins, crabs, shrimps, algae, etc. Algae in coral reefs, live in coral’s translucent tissues and through photosynthesis, they provide food and oxygen to other sea animals. The corals then store carbon dioxide for the algae to use. When the life of the coral is threatened, the life of every other species is also threatened; leads to endangerment of many species.

Fish Species Affected

Protects the coastline. They are a natural barrier for the coastline protecting them from currents, strong waves, and storms. They slow the water before it reaches the shore, without them we become very vulnerable. One area from where the reef was destroyed, it cost $10 million per kilometer to build a protective wall.

Coastlines Affected

Affect Humans. Supports the livelihoods of (provides jobs for) almost 300 million people. Also, around the world, reefs have provided roughly one tenth of the fish that humans consume today. They also use coral reef plants and animals for medicine for humans that help cure diseases, cancers, and infections. Local communities use them as a tourist attractions to help support the economy. The goods and services that the coral reefs provide to humans are worth $375 billion dollars each year.

Humans (Livelihoods) Affected


Avoid Pollution By:

1. Burning fossil fuels - use electric cars instead of fuel burning cars.

2. Ammonia: cut down on rat/small animal killers, insect killers, and fertilizers let off harmful chemicals that cause water pollution (blocks sunlight to the reef) - Use rat traps, bug zappers and water your grass regularly/use sod.

Rat Traps


Divers need to understand not to touch the coral reefs, the surrounding area then dies, also boats need to be educated not to drop anchor just anywhere.

Divers photographing a coral reef

Avoid Overfishing By:

Removing poison fishing- the poison used to stun fish, it kills the coral in the reefs-instead use nets to catch the fish or use the poison in a section of the water far away from coral reefs.

Fishing boat docking after a day of catching fish

Tourist Economics/Education:

Grow coral in a lab and sell it as souvenirs instead of destroying the natural coral, block off sections of the ocean with coral so that no docks can be built over them.

Aquatic science lab

Avoid Global Warming By:

1. Cutting down on C02 being released into the atmosphere.

2. Global solar power

3. Use sustainable and reliable global energy sources.

4. Change life habits- electric cars, cut down on coal power plants, solar power...etc.

Water evaporation off of a geyser



Created with images by SD-Pictures - "industry sunrise sky" • MLundback - "fish" • oliver.dodd - "bleached" • Mark Bonica - "6/365: Bag of Brains" • MIKI Yoshihito. (#mikiyoshihito) - "Dory (Finding Nemo) - Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN." • Snipergirl - "coastline" • stokpic - "footprints sand beach" • - "trap" • skeeze - "divers scuba reef" • SeaDave - "Thai fishing boat" • snre - "Small flumes were constructed to simulate fluvial systems in a laboratory setting to address movement of nanomaterials through the aquatic food chain." • James St. John - "Cauliflower Geyser's runoff (morning, 3 June 2013) 6"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.