Coral Reefs Essay

1191 Words5 Pages
Coral reefs are home to more than a quarter of all marine life and provide the foundation that many ecosystems need to survive. These reefs are known to be extremely fragile and slow-growing. But due to a number of threats, the world's coral is being harmed and destroyed at an alarming rate. When a reef is found unable to maintain an ecological balance, the effect fishing has on the reef can be detrimental. Humans have been known for destroying coral reefs through unlawful fishing habits. Cyanide fishing has been classified as a destructive fishing practice, yet is still being used in our oceans today. The destruction of coral reefs is greatly due to the fact that many people are unaware of a number of things. Such as the what coral reefs are, the key role they play, what cyanide fishing really is as well as the negative effects the fishing will cause. Occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to over 25% of all marine life. At a first glance, you might think that coral reefs are made up of rocks. But the “rocks” you see are actually biotic organisms called polyps. Coral polyps are tiny organisms that live in rock-like colonies on the outside of the reef. By using their calcium carbonate shells, coral polyps create the basic structure of a reef. The growth of coral reefs occurs when polyps die. Once their shells harden, new polyps will form on top of the old. Coral polyps share a symbiotic relationship with tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae. Without these microscopic organisms, the corals would not be able to survive. Zooxanthellae live within polyps, where they have access to sunlight. The light is used to perform photosynthesis and produce food, which is shared throughout the coral. If the amount of nutrients in the water is too high or the water is too deep, the zooxanthellae will not be able

More about Coral Reefs Essay

Open Document