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CORAL REEFS

  • Coral Reef Ecosystems - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (n.d.). https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource- collections/marine-life/coral-reef-ecosystems
  • Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.-a). EPA. https://www.epa.gov/coral-reefs/what-you-can-do-help-protect-coral- reefs
  • Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.-b). EPA. https://www.epa.gov/coral-reefs/basic-information-about-coral- reefs#:~:text=this%20symbiotic%20relationship.-,Where%20are%20Coral%20Reefs%20Found%3F,allowing% 20light%20penetration%20for%20photosynthesis.
  • Organization. (2023, November 24). What if there were no coral reefs?. SEA LIFE London Aquarium. https://www.visitsealife.com/london/information/news/what-would-happen-if-there-were-no-coralreefs/#:~:text =If%2 0all%20coral%20reefs%20were,reefs%20for%20food%20and%20shelter.
  • Why are coral reefs in peril and what is being done to protect them?. Why are coral reefs in peril and what is being done to protect them? | U.S. Geological Survey. (n.d.). https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/why-are-coral-reefs-peril-and-what- being-done-protect-them

IMPORTANCE

BASIC TRAITS

CONTRIBUTIONS

THREATS

POTENTIAL LOSSES

SOLUTIONS

Coral reefs protect coastlines from storms and erosion, provide jobs for local communities, and offer recreation opportunities. They are also a source of food and new medicines. Over half a billion people depend on reefs for food, income, and protection.

Corals can be found throughout the world’s oceans, in both shallow and deep water. The reef-building corals that rely on a relationship with algae need shallow, clear water allowing light penetration for photosynthesis. Some other corals also require tropical or sub-tropical temperatures, which exist in a range of 30 degrees north to 30 degrees south of the equator.

  • Habitat, feeding, spawning, and nursery grounds for over tons of aquatic species
  • Food for people living near coral reefs
  • Tourism opportunities, such as fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, which contribute billions of dollars to local economies.
  • - Protection of coastal infrastructure and prevention of loss of life from storms, tsunamis, floods, and erosion.

Coral reefs can be damaged by natural processes, such as storms, but they are increasingly at risk from human activities. Oil spills and pollutants can threaten entire reefs. Excessive nutrients from land sources, such as sewage and agricultural fertilizers, promote the growth of algae that can smother corals.

If all coral reefs were to die, 25% of marine life would lose their habitat. There are roughly around 1 million different species that rely on coral reefs for food and shelter. If coral reefs were to die this would have a negative impact on biodiversity which would have a knock on effect on many other species including fish, turtles and other sea creatures.

  • Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling
  • Recycle and dispose of trash properly
  • Use environmentally-friendly modes of transportation
  • Reduce stormwater runoff