Ryan Jung OCSA / 10th Grade
One of the world’s most innocuous creatures provides safety from natural disasters while also providing billions of dollars in economical benefits. Amidst its impacts, its extinction is creeping closer at the hands of humans.
Corals are marine invertebrates that form the foundation of coral reefs, an ecosystem that is one of the most diverse and balanced on the planet. These creatures are typically found in tropical waters worldwide, especially in clear water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states unequivocally that coral reefs protect coastlines from natural disasters such as storms and erosion, assuring safety in many affected regions. Furthermore, with its colorful beauty, coral reefs attract a steady stream of tourists and sightseers to explore; it serves as a tourist destination. According to the Coral Reef Alliance, corals are estimated to benefit around 36 billion dollars worldwide each year due to these economic benefits. Corals are an important asset that should be well-utilized due to their combination of economic and biological benefits.
In contrast to the positive outcomes of coral reefs, recent statistics show that coral populations are declining significantly. If the current trend continues, the coral-derived benefits will likely deteriorate over time. According to Rice University, one major cause of coral decline is global warming. As water temperatures rise, viruses and diseases cause the destruction of the algae population, a vital source of energy for corals. Another factor is ocean pollution, which includes pollutants and sediments that harm algae and overall water quality. According to the Florida Keys National Sanctuary, the influx of water pollutants affects the food structure of corals, specifically destroying algae, which are the corals’ energy source. Furthermore, as ocean pollution and global warming continue to progress, the coral population will be in great peril.
Contrary to the disparity, a number of new techniques have been discovered to be useful in preventing and recovering coral damage. McH1-7, a recently discovered probiotic substance, is introduced by Smithsonian, and its 68.2% effectiveness in preventing coral-damaging disease compared to conventional antibiotics. The University of Southern California expounds on another well-known recovery method, coral transplantation, which involves relocating corals to areas with greater biodiversity. Its key to survival is to provide an environment with sources of energy, adaptation, and diversity.
Individuals must contribute to the issue in addition to the various discoveries and potentials of modern technology. Furthermore, the National Ocean Service reports that individuals can help in various ways, including water conservation and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. While these practices may seem inadequate and unnecessary, it is an essential and necessary step towards creating an enhancement for our environment. Moreover, as corals continue to produce abundant economic and biological benefits, the absence of corals would be a deadly consequence to the world.
<Ryan Jung OCSA / 10th Grade