What is the global distribution of coral reefs?

Various species of corals are found in all oceans of the world, from the tropics to the polar regions. Reef-building corals are scattered throughout the tropical and subtropical Western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans, generally within 30°N and 30°S latitudes.

Why are coral reefs important to our global ecosystem?

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. Thousands of species can be found living on one reef.

What is the importance of coral reefs to the global environment and economy?

Healthy coral reefs contribute to fishing and tourism, providing millions of jobs and contributing to economies all over the world. Scientists develop important drugs from coral reef organisms as treatments for cancer, arthritis, and viruses. But corals are threatened by pollution and climate change.

What global actions would help to preserve coral reefs?

Every Day

  • Recycle and dispose of trash properly. Marine debris can be harmful to coral reefs.
  • Minimize use of fertilizers.
  • Use environmentally-friendly modes of transportation.
  • Reduce stormwater runoff.
  • Save energy at home and at work.
  • Be conscious when buying aquarium fish.
  • Spread the word!

What are coral reef ecosystems?

A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Coral reefs flourish in ocean waters that provide few nutrients. They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water coral reefs exist on smaller scales in other areas.

What affects the distribution of coral reefs?

Abiotic Factors and Coral Reefs Both temperature and salinity affect calcification, restricting tropical coral reefs to waters between 23–29°C and in a salinity range of 32–40‰ (Figure 5). In addition, turbidity reduces light penetration, which restricts coral growth.

How do coral reefs help the ecosystem?

Coral reefs protect coastlines from storms and erosion, provide jobs for local communities, and offer opportunities for recreation. They are also are a source of food and new medicines. Over half a billion people depend on reefs for food, income, and protection.

How do coral reefs affect the ecosystem?

They provide habitats and shelter for thousands of marine organisms. Coral reefs help with nutrient recycling, assist in carbon and nitrogen-fixing, water filtration, and provide nitrogen and essential nutrients for the diverse array of life that exists within the marine food chain.

What are the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs?

Moreover, coral reefs supply a wide range of ecosystem services and goods, such as food provision, shoreline protection, erosion regulation, biogeochemical cycling, and tourism and recreation opportunities (Moberg and Folke, 1999, Principe et al., 2012).

How are scientists helping coral reefs?

Scientists say creating marine refuges, where fishing, mining, and recreating are off limits, make the reefs healthier, and so more resilient. An estimated 4,000 fish species, and some 25 percent of marine life, depend on coral reefs at some point in their existence.

What are three organizations that are trying to help save coral reefs?

Coral reef organizations

  • Coral Cay.
  • Counterpart International.
  • U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF)
  • National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI)
  • US Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP)
  • National Center for Coral Reef Research (NCORE)
  • Reef Ball.

Where are coral reef ecosystems located?

Coral reefs are located in tropical oceans near the equator. The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The second largest coral reef can be found off the coast of Belize, in Central America. Other reefs are found in Hawaii, the Red Sea, and other areas in tropical oceans.

How is the global distribution of coral reefs?

Although there are cold, deep water types of coral present in the ocean basins, they do not create large nearshore reef structures that affect adjacent coasts. Red dots indicate the global distribution of coral reefs. Reef systems built primarily out of calcium carbonate secreting organisms.

How does the coral reef contribute to tourism?

Global coral reef related tourism is one of the most significant examples of nature-based tourism from a single ecosystem. Coral reefs attract foreign and domestic visitors and generate revenues, including foreign exchange earnings, in over 100 countries and territories.

Are there any coral reefs left in the world?

Corals have long been popular as souvenirs, for home decor, and in jewelry, but many consumers are unaware that these beautiful structures are made by living creatures. Fewer still realize that corals are dying off at alarming rates. Unfortunately, coral reef ecosystems are severely threatened.

How are coral atolls related to volcanic islands?

Coral atolls are circular reefs that often start out as fringing reefs attached to a volcanic island. As the volcanic islands subside, the reef grows upward and a lagoon develops behind the reef and inside the submerging island.