Coral Coverage

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The Loss of Coral Coverage due to Nutrient Rich Water

Introduction (500 words)

This report will explore the global issue of an increase in nutrient richness in coral reefs and the impacts this has had to coral coverage. Coral reefs play a vital part in marine life as they home an abundance of marine wildlife. They attract such a vast population because of their coral seabeds which provide food for a great deal of marine wildlife. Records show that there are 128 documented corallivorous species of fish on our Earth today, with approx. 33.3% of them relying solely on coral for their diet (Cole, Pratchett and Jones, 2008). Due to it’s crucial role in the underwater food chain, the reef must constantly be at it’s strongest. These reefs …show more content…

As observations were conducted on multiple reefs, however, a major decline in the water quality and coral coverage of reefs worldwide had declined dramatically. It was upon these observations that the reefs ability to self sustain was questioned (P. Harris, 2012). Their structure is resilient to most natural disturbances, however, they are extremely vulnerable to human interference such as the nutrient contamination of their water quality that has occurred. The contamination this study focuses on is as a result of fertiliser and other nutrient rich pollution which have contaminated these coral sanctuaries. This contamination has lead to great loss of coral coverage. As well as this, nutrient rich waters have also resulted in stimulating the growth of many bioeroders such as fleshy algae, which consistently attack the structure of the reef (Hallock. P, Schlager. W, …show more content…

The reef was believed to be a self sufficient system with a strong enough natural resilience to free of any critical danger (Llanos, 2013). The Queensland government conducted a risk assessment on the Great Barrier Reef’s water quality in 2013, however, and discovered that the condition of the water quality has been declining since 2006. The reef had declined swiftly from a moderate state to a poor state between 2010-2011 (Figure 1). As the reefs ability sustainability was questioned by this assessment, further studies were conducted and found that fertiliser and other nutrient rich pollution have contaminated the reef. The negative affect has already been seen through the obvious loss of coral coverage. Without interference, some scientists predict that there will be a fourth 10% lost in the next decade (Llanos, 2013). The government took immediate action and in 2003, the “Reef Water Quality Protection Plan” was published for public consultation (J. Brodie et. al, 2011). Then, in 2011, a report card was released with the main focus on the water quality and the coral coverage of the reef and comparing the observations between 2003 and 2009. The MPA results from 2005, observed by The Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation classified the Great Barrier Reef at a level 4 out of 5 levels, (1 being a critical

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