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Ecosystem of the Coral Reefs By Artem Kushneryk

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ecosystem of the coral reefs is very vulnerable. These creatures are usually the first to die during ecological catastrophes.
Coral reefs are often called "rainforests of the sea". They are home to a quarter of the marine species and play a key role in ecosystems of seas and oceans maintaining their biological diversity. Coral reefs that originated more than 200 millions year ago, are themselves a very old and productive ecosystem. Apart from an important role they play in the environment they are also important for the development of tourism, fishing industry and health care. But they are reducing in numbers nowadays.
Coral reefs are one of the most beautiful and at the same time the most vulnerable species. They can be found in tropical and subtropical water in a variety of sizes. They form small rocks and The Great Barrier Reef stretching for over 2,300 kilometers along the coast of Australia is the largest structure formed by a living creature in the world. But even small reefs are home to thousands of marine species and algae which form a complicated and dynamic ecosystem.
In tropic waters where there are coral reefs there are also many species of fish as well as other marine plants and animals which play an important role in reefs' productivity thus benefiting people as about 100 millions people live in the costal areas and are directly dependent on the ecosystem or the coral reefs as people there mainly live on fishing and tourism.
Circular groups of coral islets form atolls which are sometimes inhabited by people.
Building stone which contains coral residuals finds its application as constructional material used for inner and outer decoration of the houses. Millions of years ago it was shell limestone and consisted of sediments, corals and mollusks shells but with the course of time it turned into a solid rock, and peculiar patterns left by corals and layers of different minerals can be seen on its surface.
Coral jewelry is becoming popular nowadays. Fishing nets are usually used to get corals from the sea bottom. As "first class" corals are really rare only a small amount of the caught corals is culled out to be further uses as jewelry. Nowadays there is an urge need to use environmentally friendly ways of coral harvesting. Such methods are costlier but less harmful for coral colonies.
There are many reasons corals die: water pollution, global warming, extinction of species that are part of coral reef ecosystems.
If people don't do anything to reduce pollution and restore coral reef population then in some fifty years there can be no coral reefs at all on our planet. This would influence the whole ecosystem of seas and oceans.
Thus people will have to do their best to save reefs and this should be done in the shortest time possible.

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