The return of the reefs: a coral reef breakdown

Coral reefs are structures that have been in our oceans for over 400 million years. In recent years, the coral reef population has been decreasing rapidly due to changes in our oceans. Due to scientists’ influence, new breeds of coral are slowly being produced to help stop the rapid decrease.

Recently, marine biologists have come up with a way to potentially save our underwater gardens. According to the Science X Network, scientists are breeding stronger versions of staghorn coral in order to help rescue them. By collecting the necessary assets needed for reproduction, marine biologists are rapidly breeding fresh new coral into our oceans. Scientists are aiming to make the next generation of reefs robust enough to help protect Miami’s coastline from sea rise, flooding and erosion.

The process begins at night above a coral reef. Scientists dive down and begin searching for gametes in order to begin the process of breeding. Once they find the gametes they need, they return to their lab and begin experimenting with different forms of coral that’ll be stronger than the original.

In order to survive, coral reefs constantly have to adapt to the changing climate. With the increase of global warming, pollution and declining fish population, coral reefs are dying out more and more every month. According to Conservation Reef cause, if coral reefs disappeared, essential food, shelter and spawning grounds for fish and other marine organisms would cease to exist. Marine food-webs would be altered, and many economically important species would disappear.

“Coral are very sensitive creatures. So, when coral gets stressed, they kick algae out from where they’re holding them and they don’t let them back in,” Leonard said. “And the oceans are very acidic due to pollution and climate change. So coral is starting to die out, forming dead coral reefs.” 

The structure of coral is a unique polyp structure that builds a hard, rock-like skeletal base. Because of this, they appear to have a skeleton-like appearance. According to the Science X Network, their structure helps maintain the coastline by breaking waves. With the help of coral, the coastlines will be safe from danger when the water rises close to the mainland.

“There are many ways to help out our oceans,” Leonard said. “We can use sunscreen that doesn’t have chemicals that kill coral, we can reduce more pollution in our oceans and we can reduce air pollution by not using gas powered machinery and vehicles.”