Why is the reef important?
Reef's around the world are so very important for several reasons. First only about 1% of the ocean is covered with Reef but, it provides life support for about 25% of all marine life in the ocean. Not only does it provide shelter, food, and a breeding ground for marine animals such as fish but also the most obvious, corals. Corals come in many different shapes, colors, sizes, species, and densities.
Coral reefs also provide protection to coastlines as a barrier when there is storm surges in the ocean, fishing spots for local communities which depend on it for food and tourism. They provide jobs for local communities, recreational events such as diving and spearfishing. Coral reefs are depended upon by over half a billion people around the world.
Coral reefs also provide chemicals needed for modern medicines such as Ara-A, AZT, and the anticancer drug Ara-C. Scientists claim that there are about 20,000 or more chemicals found in corals that could be used for pharmaceutical purposes and that list continues to grow each year!
Coral reefs are dying off at an alarming rate. It is estimated that roughly 50% of the worlds reefs have died off over the last 30 years and it is possible that about 90% will be gone within the next century.
Water temperature, salinity, and pollution have all contributed to the bleaching events that seem to be all too regular in todays world. It is up to us as a community to help make a difference.