Is It Bye-Bye for Nemo?
Who doesn’t love or at least like the Disney movie Finding Nemo? The anemone home of Nemo and his father lies in a coral reef. Well, Nemo and Marlin are the lucky ones. Many clownfish and other sea creatures suffer the loss of their beloved home The Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s biggest attraction, houses the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. Sadly, during the past 27 years, half of the reef vanished. Katharina Fabricius, a coral reef ecologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, said, “I hear of the changes anecdotally, but this is the first long-term look at the overall status of the reef. There are still a lot of fish, and you can see giant clams, but not the same color and diversity as in the past.” She and her colleagues found an overall 50% decrease in corral reefs, about a 3.4% decrease a year. On a particular note of interest, they discovered that the northern reefs suffered no decline in the past to decades.
I know you are wondering: how much of the decline in coral reefs is from anthropogenic climate change? The major contributors include: strengthening cyclones, crown-of-thorns starfish, and finally coral bleaching due to INCREASING TEMPERATURES because of climate change. The rise in ocean temperature causes corals to loose their zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae simply are the photosynthetic algae that live in coral tissues.
Now since we know that the Great Barrier Reef is an ecosystem, what other creatures suffer from the decline in coral? Thousands of animals and plants depend on the survival of the reef. Whales, along with porpoises, dolphins, and other sea mammals, visit and feed from the reef. Clownfish, along with coral trout, red bass, seahorses, and other anemone fish, live in the coral formations. Sea snakes also dwell in the reef. About six different breeding species of sea turtles live in the Great Barrier Reef. The discovery of all species might not be feasible because of disappearing reefs.
How are we going to save the reefs you may ask? Well, we can’t get rid of global warming, which means not much can be done about temperature rise, but actions for decreasing the number of harmful starfish are in effect. Our world has a depraved sense of logic because of its little knowledge of how much damage our actions cause.