Advancements and Efforts to Save Coral Reefs

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With the dying ocean’s ecosystem we need to make an effort to reduce toxicity and human interference that is in our oceans, we have devised many methods of restoring endangered coral reefs and to help lower the toxicity that we place on our coastlines. Millions of years have passed and the ocean’s ecosystem has always been growing. Coral reefs are one of the most diverse colonial ecosystems in the world. They can range for thousands of miles and can be filled with dozens of different types of species benefiting from the reefs. “Coral evolved over 450 million years and belong to the phylum cnidaria, animals located close to the root of the metazoans” (Brandl, Tornabene, Goatley, Casey, Morais, Cote, Baldwin, Parravicini, Schiettekatte, Bellwood, Demographic dynamics of the smallest marine vertebrates fuel coral reefs ecosystem functioning). I believe that one thing we need to keep in mind is that we have only been researching the ocean's ecosystem for about 50 years, to where scuba diving became accessible. “There is an urgent need for more fundamental research on reefs to understand how today’s reef work, how we can protect them, and how future reefs might function”(Brandl, Interview, 11/8/2019). Animals benefit from these ecosystem but they are not the only ones. For example, our shores have a barrier in which protect us from storms. They also help us by bringing us great amounts of food primarily it begin fish. Coral mining is a very large industry that is made by the contribution of bleached coral reefs. Coral mining helps build structures and helps fix roads and to make bricks because of the amount of limestone and other construction material that is in corals. “President Obama added more than 850,000 square miles of ocean to America's networks of protected water”(Cynthia B, National geographic, 2017). This quote helps understand that even though with little enforcement and little attention, there are efforts to protect these diverse ecosystem.

Humans proceed to engage in activities that make the process of the dying coral reefs faster.. Coral reefs are under/fighting (against) tremendous amounts of stress that is placed upon by humans. Scientist and researchers around the world say the most reefs at this constant rate that coral reefs will not survive/cease to exist by the next century. And I know that you may believe that just reducing/forbidding fishing in and around reefs may solve the problem. But “reefs in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean provide a vital resource to people-for example, hundreds of millions of people rely on reef fishes being caught for supply of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients”(Brandl, Interview, 11/8/2019, Email). Scientists/researchers have found/suspected that the reasons of the dying coral reefs include; “Cyanide fishing, harbor diving, deforestation, coastal development, Agriculture runoff, shipwrecks, and coal mining”(Griessing G., Spillman E., Assessing the skill and value of seasonal thermal stress forecasts for coral bleaching risk). For example, Panama's coral reefs were one of the best in the world and are now one of the worst cases of dying coral reefs. This is due to the fact of overfishing and the reduction of herbivores. This may seem very insignificant but without fish and herbivores (like the sea urchin) algae and larvae are destroying the reefs and have created an unbalanced ecosystem. “Marine scientists… and environmental activists… proclaims the 1997 international year of the reef… and have convinced countries for an ambitious project called the international coral reef initiative”(Griessing G., Spillman E., Assessing the skill and value of seasonal thermal stress forecasts for coral bleaching risk).

Furthermore, why do coral reefs begin to show signs of bleaching? This happens when the chemical compound “Zooxanthellae” is released from the tissue that provides nutrition and color. Since the 1980s, problems began to emerge, such as high water temperature or excessive silt and pollution are simple reasons coral reefs are bleaching at an enormous rate. When under heat stress (Just like us) the coral freaks out and expels the algae. And if the extorted algae doesn’t get recovered (which is possible by the temperature dropping) the coral will starve and die. They discuss on how it could be significantly identified to threaten reefs and their biodiversity by finding the human activities that cause it. The researchers conducted experiments to find evidence of human interference in the selected coral reefs sites. Even though there is no way to correctly find the intensity of the actions they found various forms of human interference. Such as men’s fishing, woman’s fishing, coral extraction, sand extraction, beachfront development, tourism, agriculture, and transport in or around the reefs. Even though with laws and national awareness to protect this biodiversity, coastal habitats, and for key species they receive very little attention and enforcement. To further the awareness of this problem of ̈Scuba diving” and understand what unsafe/not careful diving does. “One of the most important issues is curbing CO2 and decreasing our impact on the global climate. Beyond this, local protection can be difficult to achieve because there is also inherent human interest”(Brandl, Interview, 11/8/2019, Email). One main cause of depleting coral reefs. All recording data was in Sodwana Bay, South Africa. Although scuba diving may come as creating economic wages for the country but are killing the barriers of the ocean. Many people don't understand that the slightest disturbance can create an unbalanced ecological balance.

̈Vulnerable coral reefs could be more effectively conserved with greater knowledge and understanding of local causes of reef degradation ̈ (Freed, Granek, Effects of human activities on the world’s most vulnerable coral reefs: Comoros case study). This quote describes that we are only going to start saving/conserving coral reefs once we finally understand their properties and local problems and how they affect the reefs. Coral reefs shelter approximately one-third of all species that live in the oceans but amazingly only occupying less than 0.1% of the seafloor. Losing coral reefs is losing great amounts of biodiversity in the ocean, which, one extinct, cannot be brought back! Every species we see/discover it’s the product of millions of years of evolution and we are currently losing species at a faster rate than over the past 50 million years. “To put it in an example when the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was burning (a monument of human culture and history), people raised millions of dollars to rebuild it; yet, the collapse of an ecosystem that has matured and produced hundreds and thousands of different species over millions of years seem to receive a lot less attention”(Brandl, Interview, 11/8/2019, Email).

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Through, constant research scientist/researchers like Jayden Bhattacharyya and Samone's Pal they discovered a model of benthic systems where macroalgae and reefs compete to occupy turf algae. Macroalgae play a very important role in the ecology of coral reefs. Although macroalgae cover reefs and are increasingly related to coral reef decline, they help the ecosystem grow. Coral reef allows the macroalgae to grow for herbivores to use as a food source and in which brings more species to coral reefs and use the herbivores as protection from predators. But, macroalgae have not been going anywhere when there are no herbivores like fish/ sea urchins are present. It is a constant battle between coral reefs and macroalgae. If there were to be more herbivores than it would reduce the amount of algae and it increases the coral dominance. Vise-Versa, if there to be fewer herbivores present then the macroalgae would overgrow the coral and would be more dominant. And with the model, they wanted to discover a possible coexistence between corals and macroalgae. Most reefs are conures/patches that are most demographically independent. They wanted an ̈ Equilibrium and stability analysis and our 2D non-linear ODR model and found that the model is capable of exhibiting the existence of two stable configuration of the community under the same environmental conditions by allowing saddle-node bifunctional and associated hysteresis effects with changing parameter value ̈ (Bhattacharyya, Pal, Hysteresis in coral reefs under macroalgae toxicity and overfishing).

As it has come to the realization, this algae and coral battle has become a problem and the main source of the demise of reefs. Although, in the year 2008 scientist/researches ̈Mireo Okamoto, Satoshi Nosima, Syuichi Fujiwara, and Yasuo Furushima ̈ began/released their research of ̈Development of ceramic settlement device for coral ̈ to fisheries science. Their device was the ceramic coral settlement devise or rather known as the (CSD). Throughout Japan, the reefs are distributed along the Kuroshio current. Years have passed and the reefs have been dying off because of a bleaching epidemic which caused approximately to bleach 90% of the reefs. Japan realized this problem years before and have made attempts to solve the growing problem. Such as using shore-based tanks and Situ. Although when they saw minimal results they created the CSD to help the protection of sexual reproduction between reefs. One advantage of the CSD is that it allows larvae to settle to bring herbivores and when settled it allows the coral to be protected and to have the possibility of reproduction. While the device is attached, it allows the reefs to fix its’ structure. ̈ ̈Restoration of coral reefs has mainly been undertaken by transplantation of fragments from mature coral colonies ̈(Okamoto, Nojima, Fujiwara, Furushima, Development of ceramic settlement devices for coral reefs restoration using situ sexual reproduction of corals). Coral reefs are very adaptive and use the devices to their advantages. Another device can be used for reproduction/transplanting is the ̈stick-like” devise. It allows the larvae to stay on it while protecting the coral, mainly the same function as the CSD. Although the stick-like device worked, for the most part, the holes were too small which the larvae were able to grow out of fairly quickly and defined its purpose.

Most of the diverse biological life of the coral reefs have been in a global decline for the past 40 years. To state another attempt to help these amazing ecosystems. In the article ecological restoration: “Comparing the efficiency of nursery and direct transplanting methods for restoring endangered corals.” In this study, they studied/experimented in two locations, which are “Harris Ghut” and “Muskmelon bay”. Some difficult things or some conflicting things were the cost of the experiments. Their experiments were just as the title of their research. To see the difference between nursery and direct transplanting. Nursery transplanting is when it's transplanted and it is cared for and is helped to make a recovery. A direct transplant was when the coral reef transplanted with a new healthy reef so it can be helped to survive and grow on its own. And to your surprise, direct transplantation showed much less growth and survival rate than the nursery. Also, to your expectations, direct transplanting is much cheaper than the nursery. This came to a predicament because what will you do if you had to choose between saving money or helping the cause of saving the corals. The experiments also difficulties with the fact that during the experiments there was human interference of boats and physical damage. At the end of the experiments, they decided to see the experiments after years of research was taken. Macroalgae bloom showed at the start of the study in the direct transplant experiments while there was no sign of macroalgae bloom in the nursery transplants. Another thing was that in the direct transplant experiments there was a much greater risk from negative species interactions than in the nursery.

Another advancement in helping preserve and save coral reefs in “Benthic maps”. And fishing assemblages and habitat variables in its ecosystem. Benthic maps have helped the coastal ecosystem and the study of it because it helps map coral reefs and fragile underwater areas. They have helped or are useful to distinguish for the type of seafloor and to see whether it's healthy or not. Most don't know that local environments of the seafloor can protect the assemblages of coral reefs. With experiments such as pro divers and resolved maps, each space was recorded specific land similarities and the different types of fish for the coral reef. Through their project, they found that reefs types were not as differentiable as once thought reefs types would create different maps resolutions which would show similar patterns. There are a lot of different maps that have been created to help map the ocean floor but benthic maps would/could be the step in the right direction with its configuration and its pinpoint maps.

To further the discussion, Tara pacific is a group of marine scientists and oceanographers from around the world to record and study coral reefs and human influences. Tara pacific wants to make advancements in science and while doing so they want to investigate human interference with coral reefs. This huge epidemic of the decline of coral has been mainly pointing to Anthropocene. Which are the changes of geological, physical, biological organisms/ecosystems based on the significant human impact? They want to look at organisms differently. “-omics” is a breakthrough of looking at DNA, RNA, Proteins. It could help the world to see the world’s ocean in a “Holistic way”. They have graphed more than 100,000km of the pacific ocean with more than 3000 divers with 32 islands and with each island they would collect research of 3 coral reef sites and 3 oceanic sites. They want to help stop the reduction of reefs around the world and tara pacific like many groups have made a difference. “Tara pacific is poised to build the most comprehensive morphological inventory of the phenotype and genotype biodiversity of coral reef ecosystem” (Brandl, Tornabene, Goatley, Casey, Morais, Cote, Baldwin, Parravicini, Schiettekatte, Bellwood, Demographic dynamics of the smallest marine vertebrates fuel coral reefs ecosystem functioning).

Throughout, multiple countries coral mining has been a replacement for concrete or other building materials. They can use the dead coral to build roads, houses, or even skyscraper because it has building materials properties present inside the coral. You can even build bricks out of coral reefs if you wanted to. True that this is a much cheaper thing to do when you don’t have sufficient funds to buy the original concrete or bricks. You do this at what cost? The safety for the coast line. The health of a small species. Or even just the desire to hurt an ecosystem. Coral mining is not a solution to this global threat and not a shortcut to build small roads or even the tallest building. Some may say that coral mining is all that bad and that overfishing is just how they survive. Counties in southeast Asia, the South paficic, and the Carribean live off fishing for its main source and forbidding fishing in those areas of high amounts of coral reefs will devastate the people and will become catastrophic. Forbidding fishn
In conclusion, Coral reefs are very adaptive to many situations although with so much human interference and global stress that is laid on coral reefs they are depleting at an alarming rate. Yes, there are corporations between countries and throughout the science world to save these beautiful diverse ecosystems but at the rate that the deaths are going, we might just lose them in the next century or so. We have made many devices to help and although we do see improvement it does not mean that we can stop trying to save them. I feel that this is a global problem and needs to have much more attention and to have many more enforcements in its protection clause. The world will be a much bleaker, poorer place if the reefs ceased to exist. Anything beyond that, “500 million people would lose their way of life, the coastlines of the world will lose their vital protection from wave action, storms, and tsunamis. Losing these diverse ecosystems of coral reefs would be devastating and would be the equivalent of losing some of the most treasured and revered monuments of human history”(Brandl, Interview, 11/8/2019, Email).

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