Die-Off Continues in The Great Barrier Reef


The Great Barrier Reef, the biggest reef in the world, is currently facing extinction. Before addressing this problem, scientists must first answer one question: what's causing this extinction? Today, they propose a number of different answers.

Recent surveys of divers found that Australia’s northeastern tip has a 50 percent rate of death among the coral reef’s organisms. Experts blame rising sea temperatures. After recent summers, the reef has remained warm for months. Many of the reef’s organisms can not handle the sudden temperature changes and die as a result.

Another cause linked to the increasing death of the Great Barrier Reef is coral bleaching, which occurs when tiny algae called zooxanthellae, which eat and in turn produce the coral's color, are pushed out of the reefs. This causes the reefs to die.

Pollution is also bad for reefs and contributing to their demise. As the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises, so does the amount of gas that dissolves in the ocean. Excess carbon dioxide causes the ocean's pH balance to decrease, thus prohibiting reef-building organisms from constructing the coral's hard skeletons.

Nutrient runoff is another factor that affects reef growth negatively. It can cause algae to overgrow, which prevents sunlight from reaching the reef's organisms. Similarly, industrial chemicals and overfishing can kill the reef. Specifically, overfishing is bad for the reef because fish control the amount of algae in oceans by eating it. Fewer fish can equal too much algae.

Clearly, the Great Barrier Reef is facing a wide number of threats. But there are ways that humans can help. For example, humans can stop overfishing, coral bleaching, and polluting the Earth. This means walking or biking when possible and using solar energy-powered tools. Driving cars less will also help prevent pollution by cutting down carbon dioxide and fossil fuel emissions. The Great Barrier Reef is home to many aquatic animals. It's important to take good care of our reefs while they're still around so they can be preserved for generations and decades to come.

 

[Source: National Geographic ]

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