What are Coral Reefs?
They are made up of individual corals called polyps.
Polyps have a symbiotic (mutually beneficial)
relationship with algae:
The algae produces and shares the food with the
And the polyp provides sunlight and protection.
What are Coral Reefs?
Even though they cover less than 0.01% of the
Earth’s surface, 25% of marine animals depend on
They are beneficial to both humans and marine
They provide treatments for HIV/AIDS and cancer,
and are potential cures for humans.
They are nurseries and feeding ground for marine
Some Coral Reefs
These are some of the largest coral reefs in the
Great Barrier Reef near Australia
Red Sea Coral Reef near Egypt
New Caledonia Barrier Reef near Caledonia
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef near Mexico
Andros Coral Reef near Andros
Zhongsha Islands in the South China Sea
Coral reefs are very easily stressed by:
Changes in the temperature
And too much shade.
These are just some of the factors that cause coral
reefs to “bleach”.
When corals “bleach”, they lose their algae, which
There is no more food for the polyp, so
The polyp loses colour and dies.
Bleaching is usually caused by corals that are being
stressed. They can be stressed by natural disasters
such as tsunamis and earthquakes.
Coral reefs are stressed by changes in temperature,
meaning that global warming ties in with coral reef
destruction. The hotter the planet gets, the warmer the
water gets and more coral reefs will die.
Natural disasters aren’t the only harmful events that
cause stress among coral, humans are also a big
We are a cause of many problems, for example:
And many others.
Our Effect on Coral
This image shows the
places that are
affected by human
and dynamite fishing.
Based on this, we can
see that Philippines is
very heavily affected
by these issues.
Ways We Should Help
Conserve water, causing less runoff and waste water.
Use public transportation to help stop global warming
and coral reef destruction.
Dispose of your trash properly, because waste
contributes to coral reef destruction.
Plant a tree, because they reduce runoff to the ocean
and they help stop global warming.
Raise awareness and petition for governments to take
better care of one of Nature’s most diverse ecosystems.
Efforts to Preserve Coral
There are efforts being made to stop coral reef
One example is to cryopreserve the coral, which
involves freezing polyps to the point where they can stay
alive for hundreds of years. This could allow individual
polyps to recreate a whole colony in the future.
Another effort being made is to grow threatened species
under very strict lab conditions and when they are ready,
they will be returned to the ocean.
A recent example of this type of preservationwas in
2007, when the Smithsonian National Zoo grew 12,000
microscopic elkhorn coral and returned them to the
ocean in 2012.
Efforts to Preserve Coral
Coral reef destruction is a very pressing issue and it
ties in with many environmental problems, like
global warming and pollution.
Even though coral reefs are very easily stressed,
there ARE ways that we can help stop this issue,
and I would encourage you to.
Selected Source List
Briney, Amanda. "The World's 10 Largest Coral Reefs." About.com Geography.
About.com Geography, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
"The Nature Conservancy. Protecting Nature. Preserving Life.™." Ways to Help Coral
Reefs. Nature.org, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Bleachedcoral. Digital image. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Coral-Reef. Digital image. Our Breathing Planet. Our Breathing Planet, n.d. Web. 24 Apr.
Coral_reef_4. Digital image. The Resilient Earth. The Resilient Earth, n.d. Web. 24 Apr.
Coral-reef-canary-project. Digital image. Cetacean Inspiration. Cetacean Inspiration, n.d.
Web. 23 Apr. 2013. <http://cetaceaninspiration.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/coral-reef-
Selected Source List (cont.)
Corals_bleached. Digital image. MarineBio. MarineBio, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Dead-coral_1538357i. Digital image. The Telegraph. The Telegraph, n.d. Web. 23 Apr.
Dynamite_reef_1. Digital image. OceanWorld. OceanWorld, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Elkhorn_keysnms_sm. Digital image. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
Fig1_reef_fullsize. Digital image. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Spermbank. Digital image. Smithsonian's National Zoological Park. Smithsonian's
National Zoological Park, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Wallpaper-462484. Digital image. Sites@Duke. Sites@Duke, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Thank you for watching!
And remember, only YOU can stop coral reef destruction!