By 2055, 99% of coral reefs will be at risk of extinction

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By 2055, 99% of coral reefs will be at risk of extinction

Coral reefs form some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, providing complex and varied marine habitats that support a wide range of other organisms. Coral reefs just below low tide level have a mutually beneficial relationship with mangrove forests at high tide and seaweed grasslands in between, reefs protect mangroves and algae from strong currents and waves that would damage or erode sediments in which they are rooted, while mangroves and algae protect the coral from large influxes of silt, fresh water and pollutants.

This level of variety in the environment benefits many reef animals, which, for example, can feed on seagrass and use coral reefs for protection or breeding. Coral reefs are home, sea squirts, sea turtles and sea snakes.

By 2055, 99% of coral reefs will be at risk of extinction

Aside from humans, mammals are rare on coral reefs, with the main exception of visiting cetaceans such as dolphins.

Some species feed directly on corals, while others graze on algae on the reef. Coral reef biomass is positively related to species diversity. Now, according to scientists Renée O. Setter, Erik C. Franklin and Camillo Mora of the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, due to climate change and other man-made factors, about half of the coral reefs it will be in extreme difficulty as early as 2035, in just 13 years.

The researchers calculated the time frame in which the environment becomes unlivable for coral reefs, showing that it is practically halved when these factors are analyzed simultaneously and not taken individually. Among the reasons, the heat waves that increase the temperature of the sea surface; ocean acidification due to CO2 absorption, the impact of tropical storms.

The exploitation of resources and pollution. By 2055 virtually all 99% of the world's coral reefs will be at risk of disappearing.

Coral reefs risks

Unfortunately, these ecosystems are very fragile and are threatened, directly or indirectly, by human activity.

Trawling and anchors can damage them significantly, while the indiscriminate use of poison to stun fish and the aquarium trade has caused a patchy death of polyps in the area in some areas. Scientists have recently warned about coral reefs in the Indian Ocean: here more than any other part there is an increase in temperatures especially in the areas affected by the El Niño phenomenon such as the Seychelles islands, where it was observed in the 1998, in conjunction with the meteorological phenomenon, the loss of 90% of corals.

One of the problems with coral reefs is the time it takes for corals to recover from damage, in fact many of them grow a few centimeters a year. Some researchers have found a way to repair the reefs: to recreate corals they must be attached to a solid substrate and must receive a continuous flow of water, in this way the researchers built small steel frames to which the fragments were attached. of live corals.