Save Endangered Coral Reefs - Our Barrier to Natural Calamities

Life underneath the sea will really astonish you if you go for a snorkeling or scuba diving, because the world looks as if some of the most precious stones and beads have been scattered here and there with rich colors and beautiful marine life. On one side you will see sea orange clown fish swimming between sea anemones and sea cucumbers, while on the other side angle fish will be hanging on a coral reef and waiting for its prey along with its companions like deep Sea Dragon Fish, Giant Squid, Gulper Eel, and Lantern Fish. What might attract you more would be the coral reefs lying on the seabed in different shapes, colors, and formations. Coral reefs are formed when the exoskeleton of coral, that is limestone starts growing.

But the sad part of the story is coral reefs are in the verge of extinction. It is estimated that almost 25% of coral reefs have already disappeared, while two-thirds are at risk. One of the most precious coral reefs can be seen in Southeast Asia, and estimates state that nearly 80% of the reefs in this region are in danger.

Why coral reefs are considered as endangered species? In the deep sea, water will become unusually warm due to a phenomenon called El Nino due to global warming and this affects coral reefs in a negative way. Some other external factors that affect reefs are air and water pollution, various spreading diseases, bleaching, dynamite fishing, cyanide fishing, sedimentation etc.

Reefs also get damaged by people who go for reef-visiting in glass-bottomed boats, scuba diving, and snorkeling. They unknowingly land on reefs or beat them with wings or kill them unknowingly. As reefs are very sensitive of even a small disturbance, this would pave way for the destruction of the entire colony.

Coral reefs are nothing but small communities of tiny invertebrate animals called coral polyps. Polyps grow by multiple divisions and later form colonies. These coral colonies settle one above the other and gradually form a coral reef. It will take thousands of years for coral polyps to grow and become reefs. Ideal habitats for coral reef development are tropical warm waters with less quantity of nutrients and steady temperature and salinity. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is considered as the biggest reef of its kind in the world, with 2,900 separate reef formations and 300 reef islands.

Coral reefs are the natural habitat of marine creatures. Different types of fishes, crabs, seaweeds bacteria fungi, reptiles etc. rely on these reefs for their shelter. Imagine, if we had a magical wand, then we can shrink our size and take a visit through these reefs. You might get a feeling like Alice In Wonder land.

Moreover, coral reefs play a vital role in protecting coastal areas from erosions, corrosions, slides, tsunamis etc. In some countries, researches are going on for finding coral reef products use in anti-cancer drugs and painkillers. So the destruction of this ecosystem will affect our Mother Nature in a very harmful way. Damage of reefs leads to death of various species living in it and thereby destruction of marine life cycle and food cycle. When some undesirable things happen in the deep sea, it will come out as a tsunami or a hurricane and hit the coastal line thereby affecting human life and from there the entire living community on earth.

So it is our duty to preserve our precious marine life. Countries from around the world should take initiatives to prevent people from destroying or polluting the environment that will affect the sea creatures and the coral reefs. Countries like the US have even created parks to protect coral reefs. In Discovery Channel, we can watch lots of programs related to marine life and I am a regular viewer of these programs on my digital television powered by Dish TV.