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Coral Bleaching and its Effects

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Published on Mar 17, 2009

Coral Reefs are highly endangered and are usually in tropical, shallow, and nutrient poor waters. They are endangered because of predators, overfishing, tourism, and ozone destruction. What follows is the consequence of ozone depletion on coral reefs

Algae and Coral Polyps have a symbiotic relationship that makes the coral reef flourish. A symbiotic relationship is two or more un-relating organisms, often from different kingdoms, living intimately together, generally with an exchange of nutrients. Algae, which is found in the Plantae Kingdom, provides glucose to the coral polyp, found in the Animalia Kingdom. The glucose is formed during photosynthesis.

Due to Ozone depletion, the algae cannot perform photosynthesis. As a result of too much UV light, the chlorophyll degrades and cannot feed the polyps. Consequently, a bleached coral is formed.

The bleached coral affects the biogeochemistry of its environment. Biogeochemistry is the interplay between biotic elements, living things, and abiotic elements (the soil, water and atmosphere). The algae, the biotic element, is interacting with its environment: the sun and the water, which are abiotic elements. If biogeochemistry is threatened, the earth cannot function because of its interdependent nature.

Without the chlorophyll not receiving the specific photon of light it needs to photosynthesize, the coral polyps essentially do not get any nutrients to survive. The death of coral reefs has a negative impact on the saltwater aquatic biome as a whole, which in turn affects the rest of the organisms living in its environment. Coral reefs support wonderful biodiversity, even in nutrient poor waters. A chain reaction results. If diversity is threatened, the complexity of species is limited, and evolution is disrupted.

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