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Coral Islands UPSC NOTE

 Threats to coral reefs and a recent scientific effort to help restore them

  • Coral reefs are built by a type of organism that, when it accumulates, forms reefs and islands.

  • They live in large colonies. 

  • Corals have a symbiotic relationship with microscopic algae called zooxanthellae, which live in the corals’ tissues

  • Life becomes tough when the temperature of the water around them rises.

  • When it does, the corals expel the zooxanthellae.

  • An important visual symptom of these effects is that the colour of the coral reef changes, and subsequently they die off in droves. 

  • This event is called bleaching.

  • However, not all coral bleaching events are due to warm water

  • Ocean acidification – which is when the pH of the water drops as more carbon dioxide dissolves in it is another well-known cause

  • More acidic water reduces the availability of calcium minerals that the corals need to build and repair their exoskeletons.

  • In many parts of the world, coral reefs have started to die due to global warming experienced over the years

  • The U.S. lost half of its coral reefs in the Caribbean in one year in 2005 due to a large-scale bleaching event after warm waters around the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico expanded southward. 

  • When scientists collated satellite data of the region from the previous 20 years, they were able to confirm that the 2005 event exerted more thermal stress than those in the previous 20 years combined.

  • The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest coral reef in the world

  • Recently many people there protested strongly against a plan to open a new coal mine because they were worried about the survival of the reef.

  • Not because the mine would directly affect the reef but because of the effects of burning fossil fuels at large.

  • Many coral islands like our Lakshadweep are inhabited by people

  • The destruction of these coral reefs will naturally affect the people there

  • A rising sea level due to climate change is another problem for them

  • Many small island countries like Tuvalu and Vanuatu are facing the threat of submergence and have articulated their concerns at international climate conferences. 


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Coral Islands UPSC NOTE
Coral Islands UPSC NOTE
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