Negative impacts of pollutions and global warming on growth and development of fragile coral reef ecosystems have become evident in the form of rising oceanic acidification and unabated coral bleaching across the world oceans. Through this blog, I’m going to explain how rising temperature is a big threat for the existence of coral reefs and sheltered oceanic biodiversity..
Pollution induced global warming is a gradual process of increasing temperature of our planet. It is happening due to constant concentration of greenhouse gases.
You know that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and it’s concomitant result-constantly rising temperature are highly dangerous for the fragile marine biodiversity, especially for the survival of coral polyps and reef structure.
“Mechanism of coral bleaching”
Coral bleaching is the most common irreversible phenomenon that coral ecosystems facing today. It is more impactful than any other coral diseases.
As per the various studies, sea temperature has been rising since last second half of the twentieth century. Even rise in 1-1.5 degrees Celsius, Coral ecosystems will face challenge of survival, and it is becoming clear now.
Meaning and mechanism of coral bleaching
“Simply, Coral bleaching means loss of single celled microscopic organism “Zooxanthellae.” Thereafter, coral polyps becomes lifeless and colourless in case of rise in 1-1.5 degrees of temperature. In this situation, the chances of survival of coral polyps become negligible due to loss of symbiotic relationship”.
So far, there are various cases of coral bleaching and consequent depletion have been surfaced, noticed, and confirmed in the leading journels and research papers. In this regard, the news about the greatest Australian reef is also alarming.
Meaning and mechanism of ocean acidification
As I discussed earlier that the level of carbon dioxide has been continuously rising in the atmosphere since the beginning of combustion of fossil fuels. The excessive carbon dioxide is getting dissolved into the sea water, and in result, making oceanic waters more acidic.
Technically speaking, when the carbon dioxide dissolved in the water, the result will be the carbonic acid. Chemically, carbonic acid converts calcium carbonate into calcium bicarbonate which is easily dissolvable in the water.
And, we know that coral polyps absorbs calcium to form calcareous skeleton for protection. In this situation when the degree of carbonic acid is constantly growing, the fragile coral polyps are going to become more and more exposed to the adverse forces of climate. In this way, tiny, fragile coral polyps are losing theirs natural protective cover to become victims.
What would happen then ?
After all this analysis, one could easily conclude that both oceanic acidification and coral bleaching are going to prove detrimental for the very existence of coral polyps and reef structures. Chemically, Oceanic acidification can cause coral polyps to lose protective cover, whereas, coral polyps can’t survive without symbiotic relationship that is being largely affected by coral bleaching..