Imagine a blooming garden bursting with vibrant colours right in the middle of a crystal clear blues of the ocean. Unfortunately, if we do not do our bit right now, this remarkable sight will only stay in our imaginations and memories. The Great Barrier Reef on the Northeast Coast of Australia is of such mesmerizing beauty that graces postcards and got itself a prestigious position on the UNICEF’S list of World Heritage Sites. But is that all coral reefs have on offer? Their ethereal beauty? The answer is a big fat NO! Coral reefs play an integral part to keep the planet healthy and happy. And, that is exactly why we should be taking marine conservation seriously. And, here are 5 more reasons that make saving coral reefs a priority for marine conservationists.
1.) Shields the Coastline from Strong Currents
Corals act as a buffer against the temperamental waves and vicious currents of the ocean to protect the sandy shores we lounge at. By dampening the force of the waves, corals reefs protect the beaches from getting eroded easily.
2.) Nature’s Own Water Filter
Quite interestingly, corals are filter feeders meaning they filter the water around them through their calcified porous structure to catch the suspended particles to feed on them. As a result of this, the water around coral reefs is super clean and high on clarity.
3.) A Nest for Marine Life
Every corner and crevice of the Great Barrier Reef or any coral reef, for that matter, is abounding in life. They seem like a busy city on a Monday morning with so much going on in and around them. Statistically speaking, coral reefs are believed to be home for over 25% of the massive marine fauna; making them the highest biodiversity of the ecosystem. A jaw-dropping 1 to 9 million species have been estimated to reside in the coral reefs.
4.) Gives us Oxygen
If you thought that the depleting forest cover is the only threat to the oxygen content of the atmosphere blanketing the planet, then we have bad news for you. Guess what? Corals, along with the other phytoplankton, release up to 85% of the oxygen we breathe in today. And, we have managed to mess that up as well because coral reefs are getting bleached every few years nowadays which used to be a phenomenon that occurred less than once in a decade. Moreover, corals absorb as much as 40% of the carbon dioxide that we produce. So, basically, it is very bad news for us if these beauties die.
5.) Looks after our Proteins
Even if you are not a fan of eating fishes, you would still know that they are one of the best sources of protein and nutrients for our body. Approximately 3 billion people depend on this reliable and lean source of protein. Curious to know on what fish depends. Well, no prize for guessing, CORALS! Most species of fishes come to the reefs to spawn, and the reefs become a safe haven for the little fish. They also provide essential nutrients for fish to thrive. So, if we lose corals, then you may as well say your last teary goodbye to sushi and that spicy fish curry.
Although, the scenario looks pretty depressing, but if we act now effectively, the situation can be salvaged. Hope comes from reef resilience. Corals are by nature resilient species, meaning they can recover from a major disturbance. Active participation in volunteering programmes meant for marine conservation and a powerful monitoring programme should lay the foundation. Then comes gathering and interpreting the data to come up with new technologies and ways to protect the coral reefs from further damage. And finally comes the part where we identify the sources of this havoc and put a check on them.