Over the past couple of years the Great barrier reef located in Queensland, Australia has been slowly dying; pollution, global warming, bright sunlight and dredging are the major threats to coral. Without this reef many fish species will be seriously endangered.
What is coral bleaching?
Coral get there beautiful vibrant colors from the algae that live in their tissues. When water temperatures get too high, the algae that live in the coral tissue goes bad, this is the white coloring you see, which is coral bleaching. Climate change isn't the only factor that bleaches coral. Bright sunlight, disease, pollution, saltiness of water and dredging all cause the coral to bleach as well. When coral bleaches, it does not mean the coral is dead, coral can survive a mass bleaching but it puts more stress on the corals life. Fortunately, coral can recover after a bleaching, “But what was even more surprising is that corals were able to make a strong recovery within 10 months after the nutrient enrichment was stopped,” Vega-Thurber said. Rebecca Vega-Thurber is an assistant professor at the College of Science at Oregon State University.
Data taken from mass bleaching in 1998 and 2002
Global Warming and Pollution Take a Toll
Two major factors that are killing and bleaching the coral are global warming and pollution. As the temperatures rise the impact of coral bleaching and dangerous infections sky rocket. The harder corals are more susceptible to coral bleaching. Keeping coral clean means keeping it in a clean environment.According to the New York Times, "Queensland and the federal government have said that halting nitrogen runoff from farms and fine sediment that leeches into the ocean would improve the water quality and allow the reef to better withstand the impacts of climate change and shocks from severe weather like cyclones." Pollution numbers are skyrocketing which is taking a major toll on the reef. Debris that leave some marine docks end up in the coral, killing and harming most of it and the wild life that surrounds it. .
How can we help?
Over the past few years, conservations have started to help the Great Barrier Reef. To help the reef from home conserving water and distributing trash properly will help. The less water used the less polluted run off accumulates. Polluted water destroys coral reefs because coral needs clean and clear water to live.
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