Science: Coral Reefs

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By any measure coral reefs are considered to be among the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on the earth. They are ecosystem that inhabit depths of the sea and oceans and consists of different types of plant species. According to the article by McGinley, Coral reefs face many threats which are associated on their location and sensitivity of their climate. The author represents an overview of the threats of the coral reefs ad there ecosystems. Therefore in this case the author looks at the impacts of the natural phenomenon and human activities and the threats posed by this on coral reefs. Some of these threats are natural stresses such as hurricanes, cyclones typhoons earthquake and human threats such as pollution. The natural threats are usually episodic or irregular in both space and time. This is different from the human threats on the coral reefs meaning that the threats are persistent and constantly intensifying.

The coral real crisis is happening world wide and recent report research has shown that 10% of all coral reefs are already degraded beyond repair with a 30% estimated to be in critical condition and at risk within the next ten –twenty years (McGinley, 2008). If no measures are taken to control the threats that are facing the degradation of the coral reefs then 60% of the world coral reefs may be severely be damaged. Therefore it is true to say  that the coral reefs are in serious trouble from a powerful combination of threats that are actually threatening there survival. The direct and the indirect human activities have posed positive significant threats to coral reef ecosystem. The pressure on the human population is also one of the major factors that is contributing to these threats.

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Basically, these threats can be divided into two groups. First is the natural threat that includes storms, hurricanes, cyclones and tsunamis. A change in aquatic temperature is also another threat to coral reef. This is because there is a specific optimal temperature range that that is necessary for the survival of the coral reefs. An increase in temperature causes the coral polyps to expel the zoooxanthellae and lead to coral bleaching. Coral reef disease is also another factor contributing to the depletion of coral reef population. Coral diseases are caused by the bacteria, fungi, algae and worms as well. Secondly, the human factor which includes pollution by agricultural runoffs containing agricultural chemicals such as herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides lead to the death of the coral reefs. Human sewage contains bacteria which lead to increased incidences of coral diseases such as white band disease. Oil spills lead to the direct killing of the coral reefs live. Sedimentation is also another external effect as a result of human activities on clearing of forests for farming and other infrastructural dev elopements. There are also some Fishing practices which are destructive leads to degradation of the coral reef. Most of deep sea fishing practices harms the existing coral reef by physically damaging their surfaces. Global warming which leads to an increase in oceanic temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide content makes the skeletons of corals to dissolve. In addition this also makes corals to develop weaker skeletons.

The anthropogenic effects have highly contributed to the degradation of the coral reefs. Some of these anthropogenic effects can be controlled since some of them are high interference by the human nature. Pollution which is one of the effects can be controlled especially where pesticides, nitrogen, fertilizers are used in the water catchment areas (Mulhall, 2009). The development of better fishing methods and sustainable fishing would highly help in controlling the coral reef degradation. The higher percentage of the threat of the coral reefs is made up of the human threats. Therefore, suitable measures should be put in place so that the ultimate degradation of the coral reef can be controlled. The author explains that most of the coral reefs have been degraded beyond repair worldwide, and within the next ten to twenty years severe damage will occur on the coral reefs if no possible solutions are done. I agree with the author’s point of view that in the coming years, coral reefs will be in great danger and this means that the endangering of the species in coral reefs will be very high. For instance, both the anthropogenic means should be controlled in such a way that they reduce threatening of the coral reef life.

Coral reefs have been experiencing damage from different sources but in this case natural elements and anthropogenic events have lead to coral reef degradation. It is true to say that coral reefs are the greatest species that are in great extent being affected by disturbances from human activities as well as the natural threats. In the next ten to twenty years, there will be total degradation of the coral reefs. Human activities such as pollution from the pesticides, herbicides as well as other agricultural activities can interfere with the water catchment areas hence leading to the loss of the coral reef. Unsuitable fishing is also another major aspect that affects coral reef, because there are fishermen who use unsuitable methods of fishing without considering how they can lead to the threats of the coral reefs. Therefore, it is important to consider how fishing can be encouraged in a responsible manner so that the damage of the coral reefs can be reduced. This can be done by encouraging them to use suitable methods of fishing. Making the farmers aware of the dangers imposed to the coral reefs by their activities is also very important. According to this article the natural calamities which affect coral reefs occur as a result of human interference activities. Global warming is also another factor that has lead to coral reef degradation. Although global warming has resulted from an increase to carbon dioxide in the air due to the emission of smoke in the air, it can also be controlled in a way that it does not affect the coral reef (Sandyarani, 2010). Global warming increases the rate of coral bleaching leading to the degradation of the coral reefs.

Concisely, human activities have led to the degradation of the coral reefs therefore it is important to cut back on some of the human activities that interfere with these rare and important species. Other than the human activities, natural activities that lead to the degradation of coral reefs are uncontrollable.  However, some of them occur as a result of human activities, for example the cutting of the trees interfere with climate leading to climatic change most significantly the current phenomenon of global warming.


McGinley, M. (2008). Threat to Coral Reefs from the encyclopedia of earth,

Mulhall,  M. (2009). Saving the Rainforest of the Sea: An Analysis of International Efforts to Conserve Coral Reefs. Duke Environmental Law. Vol. 19, p 12-17

Sandhyarani, N. (2010). Threat to Coral Reefs. Viewed on 17 July 2010 from

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Science: Coral Reefs. (2016, Aug 18). Retrieved from

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