The Coral Reef was first formed well over 500 million years ago and like any tropical ecosystem is balancing on a fine climate change edge. The Coral Reef covers about 0.2% of the ocean floor which may not seem like much but it is estimated that 25% of the oceans species live there.
There are Two types of Corals, The first is called Hermatypes, this is the hard coral that builds the reefs on the oceans floor. Then there is the Second which is called Ahermatypes That is made up of both soft and hard corals that do not build reefs. The type that we talk about today are the Hermatypes, These types secrete a hard external skeleton of calcium carbonate, and are living dangerously close to their higher temperature limits. Most coral thrives in shallow,clear, sunlit,saltwater with temperatures between 79 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (26 to 27 degrees Celsius.If the temperatures go below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) or above 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) for any prolonged period of time most of the coral will start to die off. Coral also need a great deal of sunlight to grow properly and therefore is normally found in water less then 30 feet (9M) deep, although coral has been found in deeper waters between 30 feet (9 m) to 60 feet(18 m) deep, but any deep the coral will start to diminish and gradually disappear. For these reasons Climate Change and rising sea levels caused by global warming are a huge threat to the Coral Reefs found all over the world.
Some of the other many threats are, over fishing and dangerous fishing methods. Fisher men use traps and nets that are made of nylon, metal and wire that are often lost in the reefs, these ofter kill or injury marine life or catch fish that will never be collected Fisherman in Indonesia, the Philippines and other Island nations they use Cyanide poison to stun the fish making them easier to catch and the United States uses Chlorine Bleach and Quinaldine to do the same, these poisons kill coral, invertebrates and other fish. Fishers in the Pacific and Southeast Asia often use Dynamite or other explosives. The explosions destroy the coral reef's formation as well as killing non-targeted fish and often kill or maim the fisher themselves. Polluted rain runoff that goes into the oceans can often carry many types of undesirables from the land. Trash, oils, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and many other things are carried in and killing both marine life and the Coral reef itself.
So with all the many things that are killing the coral reef how do we save it. If nothing is done then there is no hope. This is what you can do to help to save the coral reef, no matter where you are from.
First- Learn all you can about the Coral Reef Ecosystem. After you know everything about them teach others everything that you know. Our generation is who discovered the Coral Reefs and if we don't all stand together we will be the only generation to know them.
Second- volunteer you time, signature or donate money to help other protect the coral reefs that we do have.
Third- Know what is going on now and lend a hand, you could help with making phone calls writing letters or even email, starting a petition or signing on. The only way that most governments listen is if there is a large group saying the same thing around the same time.
Forth- avoid buying anything made from or from the inhabitants of the coral reef this includes tropical fish that are found in the reef, corals, sponges, and ornamental curios. This is just taking away more of the little coral reef that we have left.
Fifth- Support reef conservation organizations. Such as REEF RELIEF.
The Sixth and final way to help- Again learn all you can and teach as many people as you can. The coral reef has many many benefits. Whether it is to feed people or to stop waves, it is an important part of the earth and with it's death my living things die with it. Mother Earth has helped you now it is our time to help Mother Earth.