Coral reefs are the ocean’s most diverse and complex ecosystems, supporting 25% of all marine life. They are the backbone of the worlds underwater eco-systems, if they die, so will the spices that depend on them. The entire food chain could be adversely effected in ways we can’t imagine. I want to explore what coral bleaching is, how it happens and efforts that are helping mitigate the problem.
A recent study indicates that coral reefs bleaching is intensifying and becoming a more frequent occurrence due to global ocean temperatures rising at an alarming rate. On average every six years, they are seeing an event that devastates the reefs.
Typically a reef needs at least 10-15 years to regenerate and heal its previous wounds.
How Does Coral Bleaching Happen!?
Bleaching occurs when corals are under distress, they expel their colorful algae from their flesh exposing the white exoskeleton rendering the coral unprotected and exposed.
This often results in starvation of the coral reef and an exodus from the area.
Fish inevitably leave the reef due to a lack of food and resources rendering a dead zone. More than 500 million people rely on coral reefs for survival.
They provide sustenance, income and global tourism that fuel local economies and are a way of life in and out of the water.
What's Being Done To Combat The Ocean's Bleaching?
Swift and decisive actions are needed to combat this unnatural phenomenon, one suggested solution is breeding of “Super Coral”.
A heat resistant strain of coral that would be able to withstand rising ocean temperatures and volatility. Investing in large scale coral nurseries could help combat the challenges that we face.
Lessening the stress on the ocean through reduced greenhouse admissions and regulated fishing practices will help slow the bleaching as well.
Seafood watch brought to you by the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been at the forefront of this fight for years. It’s important to educate the public and chefs alike to use sustainable sources and seafood in their homes and on their menus.
How Do We Combat Coral Bleaching
The Ocean Cleanup Project is a radically new approach to cleaning up the world’s oceans through their newly developed technology.
Its this type of thinking and innovation we need to solve some of the largest challenges in the world today.
Over 5 Trillion pieces of plastic now litter our oceans. This is considered the world’s greatest living resource.
Trash currently accumulates in 5 ocean garbage patches, the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California.
If left to circulate, the plastic will impact our ecosystems, health, and economies. Solving it requires a combination of closing the source, and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean.
The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. A full-scale deployment of their systems is estimated to clean up 50 % of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.
There is still hope for the coral reefs and oceans’ health. We have to change the course of our actions and continue to educate people.
It’s time to step up and start treating the oceans like the greatest natural resource that we have because it is.
Check out our post on Indoor Vertical Farming techniques.