Corals - the tiny animals with a big impact. Learn about them on this Wildlife Wednesday!
With World Oceans Day taking place this Sunday, we’re exploring the deep blue sea! On this Wildlife Wednesday, take a deep breath and plunge into a wealth of trivia about coral—and learn why they’re so important to land lubbers and sea dwellers alike.
Coral reefs can be found off the coasts of more than 100 countries. Depending on the species, reefs can be found in cold or warm waters ranging anywhere from less than 60 ft (18 m) to more than 9,800 ft (3,000 m) deep!
Why so blue?
According to the IUCN Red List, coral species can range from “least concern” to “critically endangered.” However, researchers agree that corals are facing a stormy future, as more than a quarter of the world’s reefs already damaged beyond repair and another two-thirds are considered to be under serious threat.
Climate change is one major concern, as it contributes to ocean acidification (when CO2 absorbed by the ocean increases its acidity levels), coral bleaching (when corals that become too warm reject the algae that provide them with nutrients), an increase in storms, and other issues.
Unsustainable fishing practices, such as overfishing and destructive methods of fishing, can seriously harm reefs and affect the ecological balance of underwater communities. Pollution, unsustainable tourism, and coral mining can are also threats.
However, if we can help out our polyp-pals by keeping our oceans clean and reducing our carbon footprint, calmer seas may be in sight. Researchers are working on several different ways to protect and restore reefs, and some are suggesting that corals may be able to adapt to the ocean’s changes.