Wednesday, May 15, 2013

12 unknown facts about corals

Corals often fight battles with seaweed for space. This battle is usually won by seaweeds because their growth is in average four times faster than that of corals.

Caribbean coral reefs are more sensitive to major environmental stresses compared to corals that have habitats in Indo-Pacific ocean.

Almost all coral reefs face uncertain future not only because of climate change and ocean acidification but also because of different human activities.

It has been estimated that the growing acidity of oceans will significantly reduce the diversity and resilience of coral reef ecosystems within this century.

According to current growth of CO2 emissions, it is expected that 450 ppm CO2  will be reached before 2050. Once this happens, corals may be on a path to extinction within a couple of decades.

Some studies have showed that clean water mitigates climate change effects up to a certain point.

Pollution and overfishing are major destructive forces that contribute to decline of coral reefs in much of the world though generally speaking they are dwarfed by climate change.

The researchers have discovered several virus species that could be responsible for coral bleaching.

Coral reefs build their structures by producing and accumulating calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is vital for their growth but because of the ocean acidification issue they are losing their capacity to produce enough carbonate to support growth.

The key coral habitats must have a minimum of around 10% living coral cover to maintain their current structures.

The famous Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its coral cover in the last three decades.

Coral reefs house approximately a quarter of the species in the oceans and provide critical services such as coastal protection, tourism and fishing.

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