Coral reefs help to protect coastal communities from storm surges and erosion from waves, both of which are likely to increase in the face of sea-level rise. Protection from storms: Coral reefs are also our first line of defense against tropical storms, helping to protect all of our coastal communities. 50% of coral reefs have been lost in the past 20 years. They provide food for many organisms within the ecosystem. Plants Besides fish, several types of plants are found within coral reefs. Not only as a shelter and food resources for many living beings but the importance of coral reefs … The majority of tourists that visit Hawai‘i engage in marine-based activities, including diving and snorkeling (Beukering & Cesar 2004), and fish diversity is one amongst a variety of factors that drives visitor destination choice (Uyarra et al. Some of these services, or functions, include protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing floodwaters and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods. Coral reefs provide important protection for coasts and coastal populations against the destructive forces of the sea under storm conditions. Coral reefs provide about 10% of the fish caught worldwide. More than 90% are expected to die by 2050. Coral reefs provide an important ecosystem for life underwater, protect coastal areas by reducing the power of waves hitting the coast, and provide a crucial source of income for millions of people.. Coral reefs teem with diverse life. Wetlands are important features in the landscape that provide numerous beneficial services for people and for fish and wildlife. Coral Reefs: Ecosystems Full of Life Coral Reefs: Ecosystems Full of Life Students learn about reef ecology with a focus on biodiversity and symbiotic relationships in the coral reef ecosystem. Assessment of a large number of studies shows that a whole coral reef reduces wave height by 76–89%. Coral reefs are renowned for being one of the most diverse and complex ecosystems on the planet, providing important ecosystem services. Coral reefs provide the spawning and nursery grounds that economically important fish populations need to thrive. There are 14 coastal ecosystems that are important to the function of the Reef: coral reefs, lagoon floors, islands, open water, seagrass, coastline, estuaries, freshwater wetlands, forested floodplains, health and shrublands, grass and sedgelands, woodlands, forests, and rainforests. Introduction. The type of algae within a coral reef varies with some being unicellular while others are more complex and multicellular. We examined data from over 300 sites throughout the Caribbean, where many coral reefs have low coral cover, and thus may provide a window into the future for reef ecosystems as coral declines globally. They teem with life, with perhaps one-quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. An estimated six million fishermen in 99 reef countries and territories worldwide—over a quarter of the world’s small-scale fishermen—harvest from coral reefs. Because coral colonies serve as the foundations of coral reef ecosystems, their decline may translate into a loss of habitat for numerous plant and animal species that depend on them. Coral reefs, thanks to their diversity, provide millions of people with food, medicine, protection from storms, and revenue from fishing and tourism. Simply, coral reefs provide food and shelter for many species of animals, so that is why this ecosystem has the most biologically diverse species. Mangroves: Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees that grow along tropical and subtropical coasts. • Coral reefs house between 600,000 and 9 million species • 25% of marine species rely on coral reefs at some point in their life cycle • 32 of the 34 phyla of metazoans live on reefs • 65% of marine fishes live in reefs “Well-managed” reefs can yield between 5 and 15 tons of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates per square kilometer. But despite their low-rank on the celebrity scale, it turns out that sponges are a surprisingly important part of the reef ecosystem. (c) and (d) display how, in maintaining the status quo, different functions would be considered critical through time. Corals depend on the zooxanthellae (algae) that grow inside of them for oxygen and other things, and since these algae needs sunlight to survive, corals also need sunlight to survive. Habitats such as shallow sand flats [79] , mangrove habitats [80] , lagoons [80] , and tidal pools [81] function to reduce predation risk and provide resources for juveniles before they undertake ontogenetic shifts towards deeper reef slope environments [56] . Mangroves and seagrass beds are two of the most important associated habitats of the greater coral reef ecosystem. Coral reefs have existed on Earth for 500 million years, providing shelter and food to many generations of ocean life. Thousands of species can be found living on one reef. 2. Some remain in their natural state while others have been modified through changes in land use. Coral reefs provide many valuable ecosystem services, including seafood, livelihoods, tourism, recreation and biodiversity. Marine species rey on the reef ecosystem for survival and many other animals and plants inhabiting the coral reef ecosystem have developed symbiotic relationships in order to survive. Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species. Coral reefs ecosystem has variety of corals, algae and sea sponges, which become the main support for the whole ecosystem. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. Coral reefs are vital for a healthy ecosystem. Sunlight: Corals need to grow in shallow water where sunlight can reach them. What Do Coral Reefs Need to Survive? Coral reef ecosystems also have an important function as nursery habitats for reef-associated sharks. They provide protection by stabilizing the coastline with their complex root system. Caribbean coral reefs extend from the Greater and Lesser Antilles through the islands of The Bahamas. If stony corals and clownfish are on the coral reef celebrity A-list, the lowly sponge would have to be on the C-list or lower (or is it sea-list…pun intended, unfortunately, but I couldn’t help myself). Coral reefs posses an … This is a remarkable statistic when you consider that reefs cover just a tiny fraction (less than one percent) of the earth’s surface and less than two percent of the ocean bottom. 2005). They play a matching game to identify reef organisms and roles and they discuss human threats to coral reef health. Coral Reefs: Introduction, classification and anatomy Coral feeding, nutrition, gender and reproduction Coral reef growth, forms and structure Global Distribution and status of coral reefs The coral reef ecosystem, its ecological functions and economic value Threats (Part I) Threats (Part II) Protecting coral reefs Bibliography and additional readings Climate change will affect coral reef ecosystems, through sea level rise, changes to the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and altered ocean circulation patterns. As sea level rises and slowly floods coastal plains, coral reefs … 1. But conservation innovation and technology can help. Coral reefs rely on mutualisms between corals and unicellular algae living in the corals tissues to enhance coral growth and produce the physical structure that provides a living space for thousands of other reef organisms. Coral reefs are in a perilous state. Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals.Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate.Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups.. Coral belongs to the class Anthozoa in the animal phylum Cnidaria, which includes sea anemones and jellyfish. The Great Barrier Reef, located off of Australia’s eastern coast, is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world. Coral reefs are particularly effective wave attenuators. On tropical coral reefs, the ocean’s most diverse ecosystems, remarkably few studies directly quantify ecosystem functions and the term ‘function’ is widely used but rarely defined, especially when applied to reef fishes. Coral Reefs overall biodiversity • Coral reefs are believed by many to have the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem on the planet—even more than a tropical rainforest. Coral reef is one from many ocean ecosystem that we see frequently. 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