of Coral Reefs
Unfortunately, Corals are prone to damage. The beauty of corals is matched by its sensitivity.
|1)||Storms and hurricanes can disrupt corals. While coral reefs usually are not completely swept away, it is not uncommon for storms to tear off sections of coral reef.|
|2)||Every time a boat throws down anchor, it risks breaking off pieces of coral. Just imagine the millions of boats in world. Anchors slowly chip away at coral reefs until entire reefs eventually disappear. In an effort to preserve coral reefs, permanent moorings have been established in some areas where boats can safely drop anchor.|
|3)||Business influences unfortunately are willing to sacrifice corals all for the sake of making money.|
Click here to see why Pacific Corals have lower growth rates.
Coral reefs takes millions of years to grow, build up, and develop. The constant threat to these species all but ensure the extinction of these amazing creatures.
The Central American Concern
The smaller growth range in the Pacific might be because of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) infestations. The crown-of-thorns starfish feeds on coral tissue by turning its stomach inside-out and spreading it on the corals – this theory will not easily proved, however, because of the Pacific coral is also more prone to mechanical erosion. For these reasons, it is difficult to predict stability in reefs concerning changes in the environment or the sensitivity of reef food to changes in species populations.
Currently, a location of great concern for corals takes place in Central America.
Breaching a Barrier
There has been a lot of work done along the Panama Canal. While great for transportation, have the biological effects really been studied? A sea level canal across Panama would produce flow from Pacific to Caribbean and Atlantic. This means there will be a lower sea level on average and lower amount of waves. Throughout the Earth’s history, the Pacific has always been isolated. With any great changes between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean could cause species to grow out of balance.
Other effects include the following:
|1)||Crown-of-thorn starfish might decimate corals on the Caribbean/Atlantic side|
|2)||Poisonous sea snakes could move into the Caribbean/Atlantic side.|
|3)||These species could terribly kill-off other animals without natural predators to counter the effects.|
Scientists and aquarists around the world believe that the canal work could be one of the biggest mistakes humans have ever made. Peter Glynn and Ira Rubinoff from Smithsonian Tropical research Institute in Panama warn that this could be the biggest biological change than any other man-made engineering. However, things are not necessarily doomed because it is impossible to predict the outcome such a massive venture. As the saying goes, only time will tell.
Tourist resorts along coral reefs alarm many ecologists because corals reefs are centers of high productivity and colorful fish as a major food source in tropical areas. Resorts cause sewage, over fishing, physical damage from construction, dredging, dumping and landfills, and tourist souvenirs, which have all led to declining conditions for coral reefs. In areas such as the Bermuda, US Virgin Islands, and Hawaii, sewage and development created massive eutrophication. Eutrophication is the overgrowth of filamentous algae that kill coral and support oxygen-consuming bacteria growth. According to Stephen V. Smith from the University of Hawaii, the results of man’s interference include discovering that corals become sensitive to bacterial diseases, coral death, erosion of reef, and a foul hydrogen sulfide smell.
In the Philippines, fishing practices are especially vicious. Dynamite is actually used to bomb coral reefs in order to get at the fish. This atrocious practice may be effective in catching fish, but is terribly damaging to coral reefs.
Both tourist resorts and fisherman increase the turbidity of the water. This means that the ocean becomes cloudy because of free-floating particles in the water. With tourist resorts and, other buildings in general, soil is kicked into the water. Bombing for fish obviously produces millions of free-floating particles. When water turbidity increases, light cannot penetrate the water as well and corals suffer. Corals flourish in clean, clear, blue water.