Apr 02 2010 04:57 pm

Posted by under EnvProblems

Coral Reefs and Overfishing In Relation To Global Climate Change

“Climate change is as big a threat to people and the planet as international terrorism.”

          Mike Childs – Friends of the Earth campaigns director

I found this quote and agree with it entirely because I feel like a lot of people in the world today put international terrorism (along with other economic an social problems) ahead of gloabl climate changes. And while international terrorism is obviously a problem that needs to be solved, without a productive planet to sustain life, no other problems will matter.

Coral reefs specifically will be directly, and largely affected by global warming. Even the slightest temperature, and sedimentary changes can have detrimental impacts. Coral reefs are dependent on dinoflagelants, which are an algae that need specific environments to live in. These algae provide coral reefs with food and oxygen — they also need significant sources of light, meaning they require sediment-free waters.

According to the IPCC, the Earth is expected to warm by 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius this century, and it is believed that even with the slightest 1.5 degree increase, coral reefs may not survive. Coral reefs are also composed of calcium carbonate, which is dissolved by carbonic acid. As the oceans take up more of the carbon dioxide we add into the atmosphere,  the oceans become more acidic — making will also hurt plankton and coral populations. Fish populations however, are also very sensitive to acidic and temperature changes. Furthermore, plankton populations make up the base of the food chain, and if their populations are hurt through environmental changes, it will affect entire fish populations within the entire ocean. Currently, we are fishing beyond our means in a completely unsustainable way. Global fish catches has decreased significantly since the peak a couple decades ago, yet much needed changes are not occuring at the rate they should be. As with other  environmental problems however, economc gains seem to outweight the environmental problems. And until consumers see the effect that these problems are having on the environment, producers will continue to supply at the expense of the environment.

As with the other environmental problems that we have discussed, I believe a lot of change rides on the push for education. Global warming is a huge problem that will affect all areas of the globe — and in the past couple of years especially I think that there have been efforts made to generate the general public. However, it is important to make it clear what the side-effects will be if we continue to burn fossil fuels the way we are, without any thought to the consquences.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Coral Reefs and Overfishing In Relation To Global Climate Change”

  1. Dr. Szulczewski on 08 Apr 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Excellent post- we didn’t have time to truly get into all the CC details affecting coral reefs, so this blog is really valuable to read.

css.php