Coral Reefs Christopher Walker 2/8/13 Earth Space Science V11Oceans 05: Ocean Interactions
Introduction: Coral ReefsCoral reefs are known as the "rainforests of the oceans.“ because they consist of a collection of the most diverse biological communities in the world.Coral reefs are made up of sessile creatures that don’t move. Corals live in warmer waters near the equator in groups called polyps. The reefs provide organisms with shelter, and nutrition and attract millions of tourists with their natural beauty.Coral reefs have a symbiotic relationship with the Earth’s spheres. They support the Biosphere by providing organisms with nutrition and shelter. They help the Hydrosphere by keeping the water sanitary and healthy. They help the Geosphere by protecting shores from being badly eroded or damaged. Coral Reefs help the Atmosphere by A coral reef filtering carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen.
HydrosphereThe hydrosphere is made up of all the water on Earth, which is distributed by the water cycle.Coral reefs play an important part in the hydrosphere by staying healthy and thriving.Coral gets its nutrition from symbiotic algae, plankton, and other substances dissolved in the water. They are absorbed from the water, helping to filter it.Coral reefs need specific warm temperatures to thrive. If the water temperatures change, it will kill off the coral. If they die, It will change the chemistry of the ocean, which in turn, will also affect the hydrosphere, and, ultimately the biosphere. Location of coral reefs in Earth’s hydrosphere
GeosphereThe geosphere is made up of Earth’s layers, crust, and rocks. Coral reefs play a significant role in the geosphere because they serve as a barrier for large waves or storm waves. This can prevent beaches from getting damaged or badly eroded. When coral reefs are threatened, the Beach Erosion geosphere is threatened by beach erosion.
CryosphereEarth’s cryosphere consists of all the ice on Earth. When the ice melts, it becomes part of the hydrosphere. Global warming melts more and more ice each summer.Since the hydrosphere is affected by coral reefs and vice versa, it Icebergs are part of Earths may cause changes in the water cryosphere. temperature and chemistry and cause damage or kill the coral reefs.
BiosphereEarth’s biosphere is made up of all living organisms on Earth.Coral reefs are very beneficial to the biosphere because they provide habitats for many organisms such as fish, sponges, oysters, clams, crabs, sea turtles, etc.Coral reefs provide the organisms with food and shelter.The delicate balance between species in a coral community can be upset by natural events such as decaying spawn, which can kill them. Humans can also upset this balance by pollution, causing algae blooms that can kill Many different sea other aquatic plants. creatures interacting with coral reefs
AtmosphereEarth’s atmosphere consists of all the gases on Earth.Coral reefs are benificial to Earth’s atmosphere because they help to create oxygen. Coral reefs have a symbiotic relationship with Zooxanthellae algae. The algae, like any plant, pulls carbon dioxide from the air and pushes oxygen into the air through photosynthesis. The carbon that is extracted from the air sits on the ocean floor as limestone produced by coral polyps. The algae and the polyps use oxygen for respiration, thereby releasing carbon dioxide into the ocean and the atmosphere; however, they remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they add.Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes increased carbon dioxide in sea water, producing The Biological Pump carbonic acid, thereby dissolving the limestone that coral reefs need.• Wind blown continental dust from the atmosphere can settle on the ocean floor, stimulating the “biological pump.” The Biological Pump enhances the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Protecting our Coral ReefsCoral reefs are sensitive to changes in temperature, salinity, and chemistry so their existence is easily threatened. The greatest threat to coral reefs is global warming. Global warming heats up the water temperatures, which could lead to bleaching of the coral, which will eventually destroy it. When coral dies, it can be harmful to the hydrosphere because it will alter the chemistry of the water negatively.Other threats to the reefs that are caused by humans include water pollution and tourism. Educated divers respect delicate coral reefsThere are many things we can do to protect the reefs such as careful vessel management to avoid hitting the reef, reducing nearby outfalls and runoff, and educating tourists to be careful and to respect this delicate resource.
ConclusionIn conclusion, the existence of coral reefs is very important to Earth’s spheres. They support the Biosphere by providing organisms with nutrition and shelter, Coral reefs help the hydrosphere by keeping the water sanitary and healthy. They help the geosphere by protecting shores from being badly eroded or damaged. Coral reefs help the atmosphere by filtering carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen.As you can see, coral reefs profoundly affect all of Earth’s different Earth’s spheres in some way. If one sphere is spheres affected by something either positively or negatively, all spheres will become affected. In order to maintain balance here on Earth, it is vital that we protect our coral reefs.