Most existing coral reefs will disappear by 2040, scientists say

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Dying Coral Reefs A Bitter Truth By 2040 - We The World Magazine

The world’s most complex and richest natural biodiversity-ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is under the fire of climate change.

Scientists predict up to 90% of all the existing coral reefs will vanish in the next 20-25 years. Thanks to ocean pollution and climate change, the majority of the present coral habitats will not be suitable for them by 2045.  

Whereas there is zero doubt on the harmful effects emission-driven pollution has on marine life at large, coral reefs seem to be at most risk, the findings suggest.

Fast forward to 2100, and the scene of the coral reef habitat is “quite grim,” according to biogeographer Renee Setter of the University of Hawaii Manoa. New research presented at Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020 by the University of Hawaii Manoa reveals these alarming projections.  

Coral reef under threat from climate change
Existing Coral Reefs Will Disappear by 2040, scientists say (Photo by David Clode on Unsplash)

Despite restoration efforts made to revive the dying coral reefs, scientists find in the long run, that is by 2100, there will be ‘few to zero’ suitable coral reefs left. Attempts like growing corals in lab and transplanting them in appropriate areas in hopes of reviving the population are being made, but scientists state these trials will face ‘serious challenges.’    

To Revive the Coral Reefs; The Rainforests of the Seas

Coral Reefs are invaluable assets to the ocean as they support the word’s most extensive biodiversity. They occupy less than one percent on the ocean floor, yet home to 25% of biodiversity.

Home to millions of species, these coral reefs help clean the oceans, support the marine food chain, helps carbon and nitrogen-fixing, among other functions, hence called rainforests of the seas. 

Scientists have been trying to keep these fascinating beings from dying-off in recent years, with efforts including playing music through underwater loudspeakers that would lure fishes to re-live in the dying reefs. However, the inevitable ill-fate still seems challenging to bridge.

An increase in ocean water temperatures leads to the coral reef bleaching event. In this event, the corals are stressed to release the symbiotic algae living inside them, turning the typically vibrant-colored corals white.

Bleached corals are not dead but are at a higher risk of dying. Unfortunately, according to the scientists, these bleaching events are on the rise, thanks to climate change.

Apart from ocean acidifications and pollutions, other factors that affect the coral life are overfishing and overharvesting of coral species of fish.

Humans have already caused damage to such an extent that there is no place left for further damage, according to Renee Setter. She suggests efforts of cleaning beaches and combating pollution should continue, but the significant stress should be on tackling climate change.

“(…) fighting climate change is really what we need to be advocating for in order to protect corals and avoid compounded stressors,”

Setter was quoted as saying. 

The Great Barrer Reef Sufferers Record-Scale Bleaching Event

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is the world’s most fascinating and extensive biodiversity. The 2000 km long reef along the Queensland coast is home to 400 types of corals, 4000 types of mollusks, and 1500 species of fish.

It is larger than the Great Wall of China, and the only living thing visible from space. One of the seven wonders of the world, this World Heritage Property is by far the most complex and full of life than any other.

Owing to climate change and consequently warmer waters, the Great Barrier Reef suffered a major bleaching event recently, one of the greatest on record.

Going Plant-Based Will Help?

The threats to coral reefs include numerous natural threats, but in recent years activities associated with humans strike the loudest alarms.

From overfishing to pollution, until climate change, human-related activities are causing extensive damage to these vibrant communities.

Many studies in recent years have suggested the depreciating effects that animal agriculture has on climate. It has been even stated as the most critical factor for climate change.

“If cattle and dairy cows were a country, they would have more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire EU 28,” president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said.

He further stated both Animal agriculture and land use accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than power generation. 

Animal agriculture utilities nearly 80% of agriculture lands while producing not even 25% of the calories that run the world. This is indeed a disproportionate equation.

Cutting off meat and dairy will aid in this cyclic destruction of nature that we humans have been fueling. As much as 73% of an individual’s carbon footprint could be reduced by going vegan, a University of Oxford research stated.

If climate change is one of the biggest threats to these beautiful underwater creatures, ditching meat and dairy off plate is also “the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth.

Not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use.” A study published in journal Science stated.

It is high time we consider reducing our carbon footprint to lessen the impact on ocean waters. For more coverage on climate change news like this keep a tab on our Environment and Animals channels. Share this post to spread awareness.