Assess the impact of global warming on the coral life system with examples. (10 Marks)

The increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities causes global warming or climate change. Global warming has increased substantially over the past couple of decades that have led to warming of oceans. This warming has affected the ocean inhabitants including corals.

Impact of global warming on corals:

Bleaching

  • Bleaching is a phenomenon where the corals lose their distinctive colour due to loss of zooxanthellae algae. These algae live in a symbiotic relationship and thus their death also leads to the death of corals.
  • Eg: Bleaching observed in the Great barrier reef of Australia.

Fluctuations in mineral composition of oceans

  • The temperature of oceans regulates mineral contents present in them such as magnesium and calcium. With the imbalance in mineral contents, the corals are unable to utilise these minerals and survive.
  • Eg: Collapse of coral colonies in Caribbean islands due to mineral imbalance.

Nutrients

  • The phytoplanktons are a major source of nutrients for the corals. These sustain their lives in optimum subtropical temperatures. Without these organisms, the corals cannot survive.
  • Eg: Reduction in phytoplankton in subtropical waters.

Mineral imbalance: 

  • Due to increase in global temperature corals are losing their mineral contents which are useful to sustain the life of corals. 
  • Eg:Coral colonies at Carrabian islands are lost due to mineral imbalance.

Way Forward:

  • Urgent steps that can reverse global temperatures is the need of the hour. This includes methods like curbing carbon emission, ozone protection etc.
  • Reduce the burning of fossil fuel and emission of harmful gases like CO2, NOx, SOx in the atmosphere.
  • Reducing pollution near water bodies and the banning of non-biodegradable products near oceans and lakes.
  • Artificial reefs can be a solution to stop an island from downing.

Thus, we can say that the threats posed by warming conditions have the potential to deplete coral resources forever if urgent measures are not taken for their protection.

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