Coral Reefs Essay

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ABSTRACT Coral reefs ecosystems have drastically changed over the past 40 years. The main reasons for the decline of coral reefs is due to weather and temperature changes, too much pollution, boats, and overfishing. As a result, coral reefs are considered an endangered species. Over 50% of the people in the Florida Keys rely on the coral reefs in one way or another. Many don’t realize that they provide humans with a source of income and more importantly, life for a wide diversity of marine animals. By 2050, there is a possibility that the coral reefs might die out if their habitats continue to worsen (Trinh, 2012). This paper reviews information on what coral reefs are, the importance of coral reefs, information on the Florida Keys and Caribbean, explains the problems they face, and how coral reefs can be helped. INTRODUCTION Coral reefs, one of the most diverse ecosystems, provide life to a variety of marine animals (Coral Reef Protection, 2012). Reefs have been called the “rainforests of the sea,” because they provide homes to numerous marine animals (Trinh, 2012). Coral reefs can be found in shallow oceans where sunlight can be shown onto the reefs. There are a variety of reefs in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and animals. They feed on small fish and planktonie animals by using their long tentacles to reach their prey. Reefs are classified into a group called cnidaria. They are sessile animals which stay in the same place and don’t move from where they are located. Examples of other cnidaria marine creatures are jellyfish and sea anemones. Coral reefs live in clusters that consist of polyp, which has a tube-like body and has an opening that is enclosed by tentacles. Polyp discharges a hard skeleton that protects them from predators. The majority of corals have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, also known as algae. Algae

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