Coral Reef Essay

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Belize’s coral reef is a beautiful ecosystem, comprising of approximately 500 species of fish. It is one of the largest reefs in the world, second to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The reef serves as a natural break from water waves. In 1998, two seemingly unrelated events occurred that destroyed Belize’s coral reef. In November, Hurricane Mitch, blew in and tore away part of the reef leaving behind some corals, known as the “standing dead”. After that, El Niño came along and brought warmer water than usual which parched the reef to death. This led to coral bleaching and a 48% decline in coral cover.

Coral reefs are an island’s protective mechanism, and are one of the most diversified ecosystems in the aquatic system. Its richness is comparable to tropical …show more content…

This opened a great zone of carbonate substrate for colonization, therefore coral cover remained low and coral recruitment was decreased through March 2001 (R.B. Anonson et al, 2002). Surveys done in October 22-23 showed that all the Lettuce coral were bleached white and by late October some already died. The skeletons stood in their growth stance showing recent death (“the standing dead”). Other surveys done from 1999-2000 revealed the almost total decline in the Lettuce coral and large death in other species (R.B. Aronson, 2015). At the start of the late 1980’s, white band disease almost destroyed the St. aghorn corals, Aeropora cervicornis from reefs in the central shelf lagoon of Belize. The lettuce Coral, Agaricua tenuifolia replaced Aeropora cervicornis in the early 1990’s, at the same time high water temperature in 1998 caused severe bleaching and death of the Agaricua tenuifolia. This left a univocal mark in the fossil records of these uncemented lagoon reefs. (Richard B Aronson et al,

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