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Bleaching of corals

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Bleaching of corals

 

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ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS
Bleaching of corals - a threat to our reefs
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Videos about the bleaching of corals

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Bleaching of corals - a threat to our reefs

Coral reef ecosystems, second only after tropical rainforests in terms of biodiversity (or the number of species they contain), are home to approximately 25 percent of all marine species. Corals are animals that have a polyp, with an end being a mouth surrounded by tentacles with which they collect food, while the other end is attached to a substrate. Typically, the substrate is the skeleton made of calcium carbonate which the corals secrete. A coral reef that we place in a tropical environment is actually composed of the coral skeleton, different colonies of coral polyps and zooxanthellae (a type of algae that is associated with corals as part of a symbiosis between the two), and plants, animals, and other organisms that live on the reef. The zooxanthellae are photosynthetic. They use carbon dioxide (as well as nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur produced within the coral's metabolism) to make food for the coral itself and accelerate the speed at which the skeleton is formed.

 

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Corals
Speciation
Evaporation
Salt
Emblems of Australia
The Great Barrier Reef

Bleaching events are devastating for coral reef ecosystems. Coral Skeleton whitening occurs when Zooxanthellae come out of the coral due to stressful conditions. Bleaching is often the result of prolonged sea-water temperature increases, but may be derived from other factors, such as changes in the chemical composition of seawater or increased sediment levels in seawater. If the stress is brief, the zooxanthellae returns and the symbiosis is re-established, but if they do not return after a few months of having left, their absence can result in the death of individual corals and the colony of coral to which they belong, which in turn , it takes fish and other organisms to leave that section of the reef.

From the late 2015 to mid-2016, the effects of excessively hot seawater were particularly brutal in the northern part of Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef, where polls reported that about 81 percent of the reefs in the area They had become severely bleached. This was largely due to the strong El Niño event that elevated the sea water temperatures near the mainland for long periods. Other reefs around the world (such as those near Guam and the Mariana Islands) also experienced severe bleaching and reefs near Hawaii, Florida, and Kiribati first recorded bleaching events in successive years.

 

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