Friday, September 07, 2012

Blog 2: Caribbean Coral Reefs Mostly Dead, IUCN Says

      Reports have came in that coral reefs are on the decline in the Caribbean area. Researches have indicated that overfishing, pollution, disease and bleaching are to blame. Coral reefs provide a number of services to the world, such as tourism, fisheries, shoreline protection and overall habitat for a variety of ocean species. Coral reefs are often described as an oceanic rain forest, because of the number of species that inhabit the reef.  Storm surges are often deflected by reefs, which in turn preserves coastal areas and possibly areas inhabited by humans. Coral reefs are mostly composed of calcium carbonate secreted by coral. Reef habitats occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean, but they contain a quarter of all ocean species. Individual species of the reef carry out specific jobs, so when one species is eliminated an imbalance is created. Overfishing causes a population decrease within the reef, which offsets the entire ecosystem. Cyanide fishing is a way of collecting fish for aquarium use. This practice involves spraying sodium cyanide to stun the fish for collection. Cyanide fishing stuns some desired fish, but harms other reef species indefinitely. Ocean acidification is another threat to the coral reefs. Increased levels of carbon dioxide has caused a more acidic ocean environment. Coral environments are extremely sensitive to pH change. Agents are calling for coral reefs to be protected immediately from overfishing and other direct human interference. Preserving coral reefs will not only benefit the human species, but it will also help millions of others.

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