Coral reefs provide valuable habitat for fish and other animals, so they are vital in the lives of those residing near the ocean as fisher folks rely on coral reefs for sustenance. It helps coastal communities too in generating income through tourism. Apart from that, reefs play a big part during disastrous events as they act as natural barriers against storms and tsunamis. Therefore, we should take care of our reefs and protect them. But what has been happening lately?

What Is Coral Bleaching?

Image: savingthegreatbarrierreef.org

Just like humans, when we are under stress and find ourselves in difficult situations, our immune system tends to weaken, which will later on make us ill. Same with corals, when they are under stress due to changes in conditions such as temperature, light, or nutrients, they happen to expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, causing them to turn completely white – this is coral bleaching.

Effects

Image: Condé Nast Traveler

When corals bleach, it isn’t dead, but they will if the algae loss is prolonged. Coral bleaching for a long period of time is a serious event and can severely damage the coral, and recovering may become impossible.

Threats

Image: Medium

It is quite obvious, the world is getting warmer and our oceans are becoming more acidic. Climate change is real and this is because of human activity. And when global threats like warming waters is combined with direct threats like pollution, overfishing and unsustainable tourism, it severely compromises the ability of corals to grow, reproduce and thrive.

What You Can Do

Image: Gap Year

No matter where you are in the planet, there are numerous ways that you can do to help protect the coral reefs. From reducing carbon emissions, improving water use, starting a zero-waste lifestyle, to fighting dangers against corals or joining any ocean conservation organizations and volunteering, you can take these steps to become an advocate for reefs and simply raise awareness about coral bleaching.