Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching
Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Corals are marine invertebrates that belong to the phylum cnidaria group. They are colonial organisms that form coral reefs, which are diverse and important ecosystems found in warm, shallow waters. Corals are known for their calcium carbonate exoskeletons, which provide protection and support for the organisms. These exoskeletons are built over time through the secretion of a hard substance by tiny coral polyps. Corals can come in various shapes and sizes, with some resembling large boulder-like structures while others have branching or plate-like formations. They can also exhibit vibrant colours as a result of a symbiotic relationship with algae known as zooxanthellae. These algae provide corals with essential nutrients through photosynthesis, while corals provide the algae with a protected environment.

Coral bleaching is a phenomenon that occurs when corals become stressed, typically due to increased water temperatures, and expel the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae living in their tissues. These microscopic algae give corals their vibrant colours and provide them with food through photosynthesis. When the algae are expelled, the corals turn white or pale, hence the term bleaching.

The impact of coral bleaching is widespread and significant. Coral reefs serve as critical habitats for countless marine species, providing shelter, breeding grounds, and nursing areas. Healthy coral reefs act as natural barriers that protect coastlines from storms, waves, and erosion. Additionally, many coastal communities rely on reef fisheries for food security and income. These are often referred to as “rainforests of the sea” due to the amount of carbon they sequester. Bleached and dying corals release stored carbon back into the atmosphere, reducing their ability to act as a carbon sink. There are some ways through which we can reduce it. It is highly advisable that water should be used in a regulative manner so that it would result in less runoff and wastewater would end up in the ocean. Preventing pollution is necessary so that chemicals and other pollutants do not reach the ocean beds and would make life of corals more difficult.Before buying anything do ensure that the product should not be made of corals . Do check about the country‚Äôs policies whether they are allowed to do so or not .If not , do take the action required to stop it .

Corals are vital for biodiversity in the marine environment, as they provide habitats and nurseries for a wide range of marine organisms. They also contribute to shoreline protection by acting as natural barriers against waves and storms. Unfortunately, corals are facing significant threats, such as rising ocean temperatures, pollution, overfishing, and destructive fishing practices. These factors, combined with ocean acidification, have led to widespread coral bleaching and death of coral reefs worldwide. Efforts are being made to conserve and protect coral reefs through the establishment of marine protected areas, sustainable fishing practices, and reducing pollution. Additionally, scientists are researching ways to promote coral resilience and mitigate the effects of climate change on coral reefs.

Author – Khushi Singh, a student of Dr.BR Ambedkar National Law University, Sonepat

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