Global Warming and Coral Reefs

So what is the story between global warming and coral reefs?

Coral reef is definitely affected, and the impact will be reaching far.

Warmer Waters - Coral Bleaching
If the water temperatures rise and stay high for a few weeks, the algae that they need - zooxanthellae - leaves.

Hard Corals Vie for Space and Energy-Giving Sunlight Off Cairns
Healthy coral. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

The result is coral bleaching. Bleaching makes corals unhealthy and more vurnerable for diseases. If the bleaching events happen too often, corals don't have enough time to recover between the events

Different types of corals tolerate bleaching differently. The ones that tolerate it better will be more common than the ones that do not. Inbalance in the ecosystem.

A Bleached Coral Gleams White on a Reef Wall
Bleached coral. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Change in Ocean Chemistry - Ocean Acidification
Just like tropical rainforests, coral reef is a help against global warming since it absorbs some of the carbon dioxide that becomes more abundant in the atmosphere with increased global warming. And just like the tropical rainforests, coral reef takes the damage too. As the levels of CO2 increase in the ocean, the pH decreases, which means that the ocean becomes more acidic. Acid dissolves the skeletons of corals, clams, snails, sea urchins. Less corals - even less help against global warming.

Stronger Storms - Destruction of Coral Reef
Tropical cyclones (hurricanes) are common in the climate and locations of coral reef. The reef acts as a barrier in these events, but it also does get destroyed by the winds. These storms will be stronger and more common as the temperatures rise.

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