Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Rainforests of Our Oceans Essay -- Marine Biology

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of coral reefs is either an image of Nemo swimming through those finger-like plants in the ocean or a jumble of those plants we see on postcards and on television, thinking that one of them (but which one?) must be a coral reef. On the contrary, however, coral reefs are far from being plants but are in fact, an ecosystem filled with corals, both hard and soft, and endless reef species. The coral itself is made of many coral polyps, delicate limestone-secreting animals, which serve as a skeleton for the coral. The impact of these reefs on both marine life and humans is immense, but as of today, we have lost almost twenty to twenty-five percent of the world’s coral reefs and about another sixty percent are being threatened by human activities. Consequently, coral reefs should be protected because they benefit us greatly, both economically and biologically, and if we leave them unprotected, we face numerous consequences that will be detrimental to both our economy and the biodiversity of the ocean. Though coral reefs don’t seem like much, it’s impossible to deny the importance of the roles they serve as indicators of the salinity of water and its nutrient levels in our coastal watersheds and oceans. Because corals can only survive in clear and unpolluted tropical or sub-tropical waters that have a relatively normal salinity and that are low in nutrient levels (Thurman), they help local resource managers to understand how activities on land impacts the reefs and to identify changes in water quality, which is a major benefit to us because the reefs are able to detect even the slightest change in water that some of the best manmade technologies can miss (U.S. EPA). They also act as mo... ...ier-reef.html>. Talbot F., and Wilkinson, C., 2001, Coral Reefs, Mangroves and Seagrasses: A Sourcebook for Managers. 29 Mar 2012. Print. Thurman, H.V. Essentials of Oceanography: Coral Reefs. 4th Edition. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1993. 336-341. Print. U.S. EPA, . "Water: Habitat Protection." Coral Reef Protection: What Are Coral Reefs?. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 06 Mar 2012. Web. 25 Mar 2012. . U.S. EPA, . "Water: Oceans, Coasts, Estuaries & Beaches." Coastal Watershed Factsheets - Coral Reefs and Your Coastal Watershed. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 06 Mar 2012. Web. 25 Mar 2012. . Zubi, Teresa. "ECOLOGY: Reefs at Risk." . N.p., 21 May 2009. Web. 26 Mar 2012. .

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