Do you love vibrant colors, vast diversity, and constant action? If your answer is yes, then you very well maybe one of the millions of people who find themselves enchanted by coral reefs. They are a marvel of creation. There’s hardy anything in the world with as much beauty.
The dance of survival that takes place in these marine metropolises. It demonstrates how interrelated and interdependent life really is. The survival of each species depends on the success of the others.
We humans rely on their well-being. The answers to why do we need coral reefs are numerous and self-evident, which shows how interrelated and interdependent humanity is to these marvels of the sea.
Biodiversity of the coral is the reason for its success. A high variety of life gives it the best chance of surviving any change in the environment. Humans around the world count on the health of these ocean cities for their survival.
We can also thank the coral reefs for protecting our coast lines from the pounding of ocean waves and powerful storms. Additionally, coral reefs offer us cures for many illnesses ranging from cancer to heart disease.
One very important member of the reef, the sea sponge, is critical to the survival of the community. It ensures the citizens the nutrients needed to survive.
Keep it Complex
Biodiversity is key to the overall health of any ecosystem. That is the main theme of coral reefs; they are thought to support the most diverse habitats in the world. Rivaling the Amazon rain forest. Nothing in the oceans offers more variety of life in any given area. Being bio diverse also helps to keep the gene pool with many options in case there is a change to the environment (Biodiscovery).
When there is low biodiversity, the chances of becoming extinct are higher and vice-versa.
Not to mention, the sheer beauty that is made possible by the great diversity. The result is the dynamics of life at its finest; resulting in a living and breathing ecosystem with incredible beauty.
Do Unto Me
The world’s coral reefs are nurseries to many of the fish that sustain many of us throughout the world. Many of the fish start life under its protection before leaving for the open sea. Others leave and return to the reef.
Around one billion people depend on food that comes directly from reefs. As important as this is, it is one of the many reasons that answers the question: why do we need coral reefs? If you can put a monetary figure on all that is provided to us by the world’s coral reefs, that’s about 172 billion every year (Scitable).
But of course that figure is only a visual display of the great amount of help we receive from these sea forests. The real impact they make on our lives is incalculable. From nutrition to medicine to the health of the planet – what more can we ask for?!
A Shield From The Waves
The action of the ocean and the storms it brews constantly batter the world’s coast lines, causing significant erosion. Coral reefs act as a natural barrier protecting our shore lines from the incessant bombardment of the waves.
Climate change scientists are making predictions that include more powerful storms and a rise in sea level from 9 to 88 cm (Biodiscovery).
This makes the coral reefs all the more important. To date the Atlantic coastline has lost 20 square miles of shoreline due to sea level rise (NOAA). This part of the world lacks shallow-water coral reefs that would have otherwise reduced the amount of erosion.
A Treasure For Future Generations
It is up to us to ensure that our children and their children are one day able to know of the wonderful world that resides just beneath the waves. Only knowing that it once existed is not fair to them. The paradise which we have an opportunity to experience today always belongs to the future generations.
True to its nature, this wonder offers us healing with new medical discoveries for conditions such as cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, viruses, and other diseases (NOAA).
Similar to the world’s rain forests, coral reefs holds a great potential to cure many more diseases. This is simply because there are still thousands of creatures, (including sea sponges) living in corals that haven’t yet being discovered. One of these, the Sea sponges, have proven to be very important to corals.
Keep Me In The Loop
Sea sponges are more important to coral reefs than previously imagined. Although the reefs are incredibly diverse, the sea water they live in is low on nutrients. Especially mind boggling is the fact that coral reefs survive and thrive in an environment lacking in nitrogen and phosphorous – ingredients critical for life (BBC). This should not be able to happen.
As you probably know, sea sponges are astonishingly adept at filter feeding. They recycle ten times more organic matter than bacteria (BBC) These recycled nutrients feed snails, crabs, as well as other animals. Larger animals then eat the snails and crabs, and the chain begins.
Coral reefs release about half their total nutrients into the sea water, which means the coral’s inhabitants have no access to it. In what is called the “sponge loop” the sea sponge absorbs these nutrients and recycle them back into the coral (BBC). This makes the sea sponge an invaluable link in the coral.
A True Treasure
When we think about riches, it’s usually a number than can be calculated – no matter how large. We all know a true treasure can not be computed. Coral reefs offer us more than we can calculate.
Their enchanting beauty has true substance – their influence reaches far and wide into our lives. They feed billions of people throughout the planet, while maintaining the health of the ocean we depend on.
The cures for many of our illnesses have been discovered in these magic cities, and the undiscovered potential for many more remedies only grows. These ocean gems must be protected – our descendants deserve nothing less.
One imperative member of the reef is the sea sponge. This amazing creature assures that other animals receive the nutrients critical for life that otherwise will be lost to the sea.
What do you love about coral reefs? Do you have any suggestion on what we can do to protect them? Have you experienced a coral reef up close, or do plan to do so?
Please leave your comments below,
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