The Importance of Coral Barriers

The Importance of Coral Barriers

Everybody knows how beautiful the coral barriers can be, we pass our lives watching several documentaries in which we can appreciate a lot of amazing species, amazing colours, seagrasses, etc. But, do we really know how important they are for ocean health and how are we devastating them by increasing our market? definitely no.

If we, as consumers, are making responsible use of the most common media channels, we should know that during the last decades many of the world’s coral reefs have suffered because of global warming, polluted waters and human activities such as change of land use for constructions, plantings, and even unethical overfishing.

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth; they support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species. Scientists estimate that there may be millions of undiscovered species of organisms living in and around reefs. This biodiversity is considered key to finding new medicines for the 21st-century .

It is also important to mention that the coral reef structures also buffer shorelines against 97 percent of the energy from waves, storms, and floods, so they also help to prevent loss of life, property damage, and erosion. They are absolutely important to several coastal communities, but sometimes they just don’t know.

As a valuable source of nitrogen and other essential nutrients, ocean corals support entire marine food chains, which depend on them for survival.

On the other side, as coral grows towards sunlight, it leaves behind a kind of skeleton, creating habitats for many small marine organisms which also attract bigger fish looking for food and marine mammals.

They also absorb and store harmful pollutants, such as carbon, in the same way trees remove CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. This entire process regulates carbon levels, providing an environment for microorganisms to thrive as well.

Under these order of ideas, these are some of the characteristics that make coral reefs important and that we all should definitely know:

  • They protect coasts lines from the strong currents and waves.
  • Provide protection and shelter for several species.
  • They are nature’s water filtration system.
  • They control how much CO2 is in the ocean water.
  • Constitute an important food source for humans.
  • Tourism and responsible economy development.
  • Being a source of life, they enable a great food chain.
  • Provide protection to coastal communities.

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