The Climate Change Invasion on Our Precious Coral Reefs!

Scientists now estimate in the coral reef environment, there are about 4,000 types of fish, 800 types of corals and many hundreds of other species. Photo Courtesy – NOAA

Greetings! Once again I’d like to talk about the serious subject of Climate Change and how it is attacking our precious coral reefs. Beautiful coral reefs make up extremely diverse ecosystems around our planet. In fact scientists estimate in the coral reef environment, there are about 4,000 types of fish, 800 types of corals and many hundreds of other species.[1] And get this, scientists agree there probably is another “1 to 8 million undiscovered species of organisms living in coral reefs![2] What does this mean? Clearly, the sea life in and around coral reefs is paramount in discovering new medicines. In fact, right now, many pharmaceutical drugs are being created as a result of coral reef animals and plants that could be new cures for cancer, viruses, and bacterial infections.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] explains, Coral reefs may provide goods and services worth $375 billion each year. This is an amazing figure for an environment that covers less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface.” NOAA continues and says, “Diving tours, fishing trips, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses based near reef systems provide millions of jobs and contribute billions of dollars all over the world. Recent studies show that millions of people visit coral reefs in the Florida Keys every year. These reefs alone are estimated to have an asset value of $7.6 billion.

How Does Climate Change Destroy Our Precious Coral Reefs?

Unfortunately, climate change is the global monster threatening all coral reef ecosystems. NOAA explains, “Scientific evidence now clearly indicates that the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean are warming, and that these changes are primarily due to greenhouse gases derived from human activities. As temperatures rise, mass coral bleaching events and infectious disease outbreaks are becoming more frequent. Additionally, carbon dioxide absorbed into the ocean from the atmosphere has already begun to reduce calcification rates in reef-building and reef-associated organisms by altering seawater chemistry through decreases in pH. This process is called ocean acidification.”

Clearly, ocean acidification will continue killing coral reefs at an unprecedented rate unless we intervene. NOAA explains, “Climate change will affect coral reef ecosystems, though sea level rise, changes to the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and altered ocean circulation patterns. When combined, all of these impacts dramatically alter ecosystem function, as well as the goods and services coral reef ecosystems provide to people around the globe.”

Here’s an illustration from NOAA showing a summary of climate change and what you can do to help stop it…

As more news on climate change occurs, I’ll be sure to let you know!

If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.

Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …

Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …

~ Kobee Manatee

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