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Why Half Of The Great Florida Coral Reef System Disappeared?

Great Florida Coral Reef System

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According to marine scientists, nearly half of the Great Florida coral reef system has disappeared and if proper actions will not be taken we would be losing world’s third largest coral reef system. The Great Florida coral reef system lies in the span of hundreds of miles down the eastern seaboard of the US. There are around 1,400 species of plants and animals & around 500 different kinds of fishes thrive here. However, now the scenario is different, approximately half of the reef system disappeared. We have the latest satellite images, compared them with precisely drawn 250-year-old British admiralty charts and found them nearly identical.

It is clear in historical charts that we have a beautiful coral system in the year the 1760s, however, now only mud and seagrasses can be seen. The reefs that lie far from the sore are still thriving with fishes and plants. Now, the question will arise, Why did the world’s third largest coral system disappear? Natural forces like extreme rainfall and heat waves could also be a reason but overfishing, development, and pollution are the three main primary reasons for depleting reef system in the world. Economically too these coral reef systems are very important for the nation around the world. Great Barrier Reef has a turn around of $6.4 billion Australian dollars a year. Tourism and fishing are the main sources of income. All coral reef system around the world has a turn over of 1 trillion a year. The Maldives’ tourist economy would collapse without its reefs. Also, read about awesome coral reef experiences.

Great Florida Coral Reef System

We have build cities across the shore and increased pollution that decreased the nutrients and sediment content of the land thus contributed towards the disappearing coral reef system. Corals are highly intolerant towards rising temperature and salinity change of the land. Just an increase of 1C temperature and extreme rainfall could start depletion of the coral reef system. Due to climate change and global warming in last 20 years is one of the major reason towards dying Florida coral reef system. Due to abnormally warm water, the world’s first coral bleaching was recorded in 1998. It starts depleting the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and other reefs off Madagascar, Belize, and the Maldives. However, most of them recovered because coral reef system survives again when the condition becomes normal. During 2008 to 2011, extreme climate change includes flooding and pollution in Australia lead to depletion of Great Barrier Reef.

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Great Florida Coral Reef System

Image Source:  Carysfort reef off Key Largo, Florida. Widespread bleaching and oil pollution have left the reefs stressed and vulnerable to disease. Photograph: Amy Massey/AP

Now, year after year we can see a more extreme climatic change in the form of El Nino thus causing mass bleaching and destroying approximately two-thirds of coral reef system around the world. Apart from overfishing, pollution, and loss of oxygen, now the real problem is acidification of the oceans. Only few organisms living in coral reefs can sustain these stress but most of them are dying.Much of the early damage to near pristine Pacific and Indian ocean reefs may have been done in the 1980s when overfishing peaked in tropical and subtropical seas. Also, use of cyanide and explosives in shark fishing to supply fish to Hong Kong, Singapore, and mainland China have cleared almost all fish population. The problem is very serious because world’s coral reef system is home to approximately 500,000 known species.

The solution lies in addressing all the marine ecosystem with controlled fishing. Also, pollution needs to be controlled by cities and mining companies. By this way, we will increase sediments and nutrients into the seas. Climate change and Global warming is now a problem for the world and hence for these coral reef systems. If the ocean continues to absorb more CO2 it will increase coral bleaching and only deeper reefs would survive. UN has made a resolution to control global temperature rise at 1.5C. If not attained than most of the coral reef system including Great Florida Coral Reef System will disappear from planet Earth.

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