Water And Oceanography

Importance of Coral Reefs in the World Today



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Coral reefs are being damaged and depleted in oceans around the world due to pollution and global warming. The effects on the marine environment are devastating to say the least. But what the impacts of the rest of the world, from a social standpoint. Will coral reef depletion impact how most of the human race lives?

For starters, sportsman such as divers and fishermen will certainly suffer. As the reefs disappear so will most of the marine organisms that they support. Diving will become as exciting as being in the bottom of a swimming pool or pond; not much to see and not much fun. Fishing will also decrease as coral reefs are nurseries for numerous juvenile fish species. The young fish shelter and feed on or near the reefs until they become able to fend on their own. With coral reef depletion, these fish numbers will drop drastically!

Those decreasing fish populations may have a greater significance that just for sports fishing. Many places in the world still rely on the ocean for the majority of their food so hunger and starvation will plaque many societies around the globe. Those people will start to immigrate to other countries and effect those societies. Some put the numbers of people effected at 500 million, but with the cumulative effect it will involve the whole world, not just those by the coasts! This is already happening, but can increase and cause social troubles.

Also, coral reefs are a major carbon sink, even more than the rain forests of South America. The coral polyps use massive amounts of carbon to make the calcium carbonate exo-skeleton that form the reefs. That carbon comes from the atmosphere, no reefs and no place for the carbon to go and greenhouse gases build up, and global warming quickens, definitely an issue facing society today that few realize involve the depletion of coral reefs!

Depletion of coral reefs will also increase coastal erosion and damage during storms. Those reefs provide breaks to decrease the wave action and tidal surges during storms. They are also the basis for the sand on most beaches. The sand keeps the seas from eating away at the land. Does the storm surge effect societies? Ask the people of New Orleans, Miami, or over in the Pacific. The coral reefs are critical in these areas and all along the coasts.

What the social impacts of the depletion of coral reefs? Lost of leisure activities and loss of food in many places. Global warming increasing. There is also the loss of beaches and the increased damage to coastal communities. This will result in overcrowding in other places and that can cause the collapse of many societies! Reef depletion is more of a social problem than most realize.

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