Write a geography essay about Cora reefs in crisis and provide the necessary interventions to solve the crisis.
The paper must be 3 pages in length (approximately 1000 words)
Use 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced.
APA formatted with at least three sources.
“The waves of the sea help me get back to me” is a famous quote by Jill Davis. According to Williams et al. (2019), “Early coral reefs lived among dinosaurs. These ancestral coral forms led to the emergence of scleractinian coral reefs ~65 million years ago (Ma) in the early Paleogene that by the early Neogene (~24 Ma) had developed into the functionally extant coral reefs we know today” (p.2). According to Guldberg et al. (2019), “Warm-water coral reefs are an important component of the Earth’s biosphere, dominating coastal habitats in tropical and subtropical areas” (p.1). “Many human coastal communities, comprised of at least 500 million people worldwide, have developed a high degree of dependency on ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reefs, and these communities look to coral reefs for their daily food, income and other needs” (Guldberg et al., 2019, p.1). “While recent estimates of the minimum economic dependence upon coral reefs certainly provide powerful support to the inescapable conclusion that coral reefs make a very substantial economic contribution to coastal societies, these studies falter when it comes to outlining the rich set of relationships between biology, economics and human behaviour” (Guldberg et al., 2019, p.1). “The ability to understand how human communities along coastlines will respond to the loss of coral reefs is complex and requires datasets that are incomplete or are not currently available” (Guldberg et al., 2019, p.1). “In this regard, we call for a greater effort to understand both the flexibility, inertia, and options for coastal societies facing the massive ecological disruption that has begun and will continue as the next few decades unfold” (Guldberg et al., 2019, p.1). “The principal drivers of these changes have been increasing levels of pollution, unsustainable coastal development, overfishing, and outbreaks of coral predators like the Crown of Thorns Starfish and, if these pressures were not enough, human-driven climate change is having devastating impacts on coral reefs through anthropogenic ocean acidification and warming” (Guldberg et al., 2019, p.1). According to Kleypas et al. (2019), “M aintaining coral reef ecosystems is a social imperative because so many people depend on coral reefs for food production, shoreline protection, and livelihoods” (p.1). Thus, coral reefs are essential in the ecosystem and should be protected.
Although coral reefs are essential in the ecosystem, they are under crisis. “Coral reefs are biodiverse and productive ecosystems but are threatened by local and global stresses” (Guldberg et al., 2019, p.1). According to Anthony et al. (2017), “S ince 2014, coral reefs worldwide have been subjected to the most extensive, prolonged and damaging heatwave in recorded history” (p.1). “G lobally, we are facing the catastrophic decline of these ecosystems, which sustain services valued at around $US10 trillion per year, are home to over a million species, and feed and support the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people” (Anthony et al., 2017, p.1). “Critically, even if global warming can be kept within 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, shallow tropical seas would warm at least 0.4 °C in the coming decades, triggering frequent bleaching of the most sensitive habitat-forming coral species; This outlook poses a time-critical decision challenge for management and conservation” (Anthony et al., 2017, p.1). “Despite their importance, coral reefs are in rapid decline, with the rate accelerating for many coral reefs over the past decade (e.g., Great Barrier Reef)” (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2018, p.1). “Human impacts such as fishing pressure, coastal development, and pollution are combining with rising ocean temperatures to push reefs increasingly into states typified by low coral abundance, reduced biodiversity, and degraded ecosystems services” (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2018, p.1). “While all threats facing coral reefs need addressing, those associated with global ocean warming are the most serious, with the near total loss of coral reefs across the planet expected by midcentury under current greenhouse gas emission projections’ (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2018, p.1). “Within this context, reducing the impact of local threats has the potential to build much-needed resilience for coral reefs as they face escalating threats from global climate change” (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2018, p.1). “Existing conservation approaches, despite innovative governance arrangements, could simply become insufficient to protect coral reefs under any expected climate future” (Anthony et al., 2017, p.1). “For coral reefs to remain resilient and their services sustained, we argue that new and potentially riskier interventions must be implemented alongside conventional management efforts and strong action to curb global warming” (Anthony et al., 2017, p.1). Climate change is one of the crises that coral reefs face and there are interventions that have been implemented to solve the crisis.
Climate change is one of the crises that coral reefs face. According to Kleypas et al. (2019), “The survival of reefs this century, however, is threatened by the mounting effects of climate change” (p.1). “Coral reefs are succumbing rapidly to rising ocean temperatures, and the recent and rapid degradation of reefs worldwide is well documented” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Climate mitigation is the foremost and essential action to prevent coral reef ecosystem collapse, and without it, reefs will become extremely diminished within the next 20–30 years” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Passive recovery (i.e., natural recovery without human intervention) is proving increasingly inadequate as coral bleaching and mortality events become more frequent and severe, adding to the impacts of local anthropogenic stressors such as overfishing and pollution” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “As stressors increase and coral cover declines, so do reproductive and recruitment success, preventing many reefs from recovering and major losses of reef corals and reef structure are expected if global warming exceeds 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial average temperature, and the most effective action to reduce the decline of coral reefs remains rapid and effective mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Even with strong climate mitigation, however, existing conservation measures such as marine protected areas and fisheries management are no longer sufficient to sustain the ecosystem, and many additional and innovative actions to increase reef resilience must also be taken” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “As interactions between people and coral reefs increased, so too did the study of the resulting changes to reef configurations” (Williams et al., 2019, p.2). “Even with the best scientific innovation, saving coral reefs will require a well-funded, well-designed, and rapidly executed strategy with political and social commitments at the level of other grand challenges” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). Thus, climate change is one of the crises that coral reefs face because they are succumbing rapidly to rising ocean temperatures.
Several interventions have been implemented to solve the coral reef crises. According to Kleypas et al. (2019), “The US National Academy of Sciences reviewed the science and risks/benefits of interventions to enhance the persistence and resilience of coral reefs (National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, 2019, National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, 2018)” (p.1). “The urgency of the coral reef crisis also calls for much stronger coordination across disciplines” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Traditional coral reef science is mostly carried out by biological researchers who are rarely organized within a larger plan to help sustain reefs” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Many of these interventions build on the practice of active reef restoration, which entails sexual and asexual propagation of corals for out planting into the natural environment” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Active reef restoration will most likely succeed in the long term if it also incorporates (a) innovations such as assisted fertilization and recruitment; (b) actions to speed natural selection and adaptation through assisted gene flow and managed relocation with possible incorporation of assisted adaptation and evolution; and (c) a focus on preserving and enhancing species diversity and genetic variation within populations, and managed species assembly to maximize the best adapted species consortia” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Many of the interventions are existing, proven practices that reduce reef stressors, such as management of watersheds, coastal zones, and fisheries, often as part of the establishment of marine protected areas, and often reinforced with socio-economic incentives and regulatory measures to protect coastal ecosystems, and maintain ecosystem services” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Deployment of most of these interventions will rely on active restoration in regions where pollution, overfishing, and other human-driven reef stressors are well managed” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “Active restoration still focuses on too few species and is limited to small spatial scales: even large efforts struggle to restore a hectare per year” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “The effectiveness of active restoration thus depends on strategies that harness coral population connectivity to accelerate the spread of heat-tolerant corals, i.e., focusing restoration on reefs where larval dispersal and recruitment can spark year-to-year spread over larger areas” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “All of these innovations, broadly reviewed in the context of management, policymaking, and fund-raising, will require rigorous field testing prior to large-scale deployment” (Kleypas et al., 2019, p.1). “A coordinated, global coral reef conservation strategy that is centered on 50 large (500 km2) regions that are the least vulnerable to climate change and which are positioned to facilitate future coral reef regeneration” (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2018, p.1). “The proposed strategy and actions should strengthen and expand existing conservation efforts for coral reefs as we face the long-term consequences of intensifying climate change” (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2018, p.1). Thus, s everal interventions have been implemented to solve the coral reef crises, and many of these interventions build on the practice of active reef restoration.
In conclusion, coral reefs are essential for people’s health and well-being of the people that they benefit. Climate change ecologically affects the growth of coral reefs. The government should implement policies to ensure the survival and long-term resilience of the coral reefs, as they’re an essential part of the ecosystem. Climate change is one of the crises that coral reefs face, and interventions have been implemented to solve the crisis. S everal interventions have been implemented to solve the coral reef crises, and many of these interventions build on the practice of active reef restoration. We should all be dedicated to safeguard and protect coral reefs because they are essential to the ocean and the people around it.
Anthony, K., Bay, L. K., Costanza, R., Firn, J., Gunn, J., Harrison, P., … & Walshe, T. (2017). New interventions are needed to save coral reefs. Nature ecology & evolution, 1(10), 1420-1422.
Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Pendleton, L., & Kaup, A. (2019). People and the changing nature of coral reefs. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 30, 100699.
Hughes, T. P., Kerry, J. T., Baird, A. H., Connolly, S. R., Dietzel, A., Eakin, C. M., … & Torda, G. (2018). Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages. Nature, 556(7702), 492-496.
Kleypas, J., Allemand, D., Anthony, K., Baker, A. C., Beck, M. W., Hale, L. Z., … & Gattuso, J. P. (2021). Designing a blueprint for coral reef survival. Biological Conservation, 257, 109107.
Williams, G. J., & Graham, N. A. (2019). Rethinking coral reef functional futures. Functional Ecology, 33(6), 942-947.