Marine Ecosystems   30 comments


Coral Reefs and Climatic Change

CoralReef  bonaire-flower-coral

Corals themselves are tiny animals which belong to the group cnidaria (the “c” is silent)which also include hydras, jellyfish, and sea anemones. Corals are not mobile but stay fixed in one place. They feed by reaching out with tentacles to catch prey such as small fish and planktonic animals. Corals live in colonies consisting of many individuals, each of which is called polyp.

It was believed in the Middle Ages that sea fish were created to balance with the stars in the sky and were consequently equally numerous.



  • Corals are amongst the oldest eco systems on Earth and the largest living structure on the planet.
  • They cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface but are home to 25% of all marine life
  • They protect our shorelines from erosion
  • Provide food and livelihoods for 500 million+ people
  • Used in treatment of cancer, HIV, cardiovascular diseases and ulcers
  • Corals porous limestone skeletons have been used for human bone grafts
  • 1/3 of our corals are now threatened with extinction. At present destruction rates 70% of the world’s coral reefs will be destroyed by 2050


Rising Temperatures (Global Warming)

  • This puts strain on corals which then eject the algae (zooxanthellae) that live in their soft tissue, providing nutrients and energy for photosynthesis. Algae also give corals their bright rainbows of colours. Without algae the coral becomes bleached and open to disease.


Atmospheric CO2 (Ocean Acidification)

  • Oceans become increasingly acidic as they absorb Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. Coral reefs have limestone foundations and the acidity is responsible for them dissolving, which has a critical affect on a corals ability to grow.

coral-cavernous-star  coral-reefs-decline-worldwide 

With the exception of amphibians corals are at higher risk of extinction than all the terrestrial animals groups…they are also the most sensitive to climatic changes.

Destruction of their habitats, overfishing, ocean warming, increased risk of acidification and millions of tonnes of nutrient run-off all play a part in this situation.


Global Dead Zones

Regions of coastal seawater that have been deprived of oxygen as a result of fertilisers and sewage overspill, consequently, can no longer support life. Twice as many such zones have developed since 1960. Coupled with rising Carbon Dioxide levels not only shallow-water marine life, but also numerous deep-sea species will also suffer and die.

 global_dead_zones  bleached_coral

  • SWEDEN – cyanobacteria is blooming resulting in the Baltic Sea becoming a deadly, toxic brown sludge.
  • HAWAII – Massive stacks of fetid, contaminated green-brown algae dumped on the ocean coasts.
  • FLORIDA – Red tides of toxic algal are killing of hundreds of marine mammals….
  • CARIBBEAN – 80% of reefs are suffocated by algae…..


Climate change, coupled with ocean warming, is likely to result in a global collapse of coral reefs within the next few decades. There is clear census of scientific opinion that it is essential to reduce greenhouse gases if coral reefs are to survive.

30 responses to “Marine Ecosystems

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  1. I hate the way people are destroying the environment.

    In a few years I might be going on a trip with school that will involve studying coral reefs in Honduras.

  2. When will man ever learn that we are supposed to leave Mother Earth in a “better” condition than we found it. Just like a farmer must care for his soil, or he shall experience famine. Like a plague of ravenous Locus, Man destroys all before him, in his relentless search for power and glory.
    It confounds me ….

  3. The exoskeletons coral leave behind are also terrible for the skin……..if you fall off a surfboard in shallow water and get tumbled against them by the waves you were trying to wide. Want to see my scars?

  4. Wow you have really done your homework on this one Icywolfy of the Icy Realm, though I already know what a fangtastic researcher you are when it comes down to adding an interestingly excellent read and this one is another fine example of that for sure…

    Of course I had hoped to read something about the Jolly Romans but I think that I will have to cover that one myself at some point in time, maybe even add what kind of oils they used after their Naughty Roman Bath Times… Well I might? lol

    Thank you for adding this wonderful posting Icywolfy, I must say that I really enjoyed reading this one…

    Androgoth XXx

    • Thank you for taking the time to stop by Androgoth…and to take an interest in this environmental issue that lies close to my heart. I appreciate you would have preferred the Jolly Romans 😉 but for myself this is unfamiliar territory and would have involved more time spent on it than has been available to me of late. But I aim to please 🙂 so I will see what I can do. You’re not off the hook tho…I would very much like to read your version of Naughty Roman Bath Times!! 😉

      • Yes well some of their sandal were a tad honking too but that’s another story… lol As for the Naughty Bath Times of Romans, well I think that a Nonsensical Script might be a better way of exploring that one what do you think? lol Have a Ghoultastic rest of evening Icywolfy of the Icy Realm… And Be GOOD too if you can? lol

        Androgoth XXx

      • However you choose to explore the Naughty Bath Times of the Romans…lol…I am sure it will be both unique and intriguing! Honking sandals? lol 😉 And I think…with my one remaining little brain cell…!…that it is YOU who should be trying to be good even tho I know that is impossible for a naughty Gothic Vampire!

  5. Sad reading but good eye opening blog. I don’t know why the term ‘progress’ is used to claim our human stride forward in life on earth. It clearly is not ‘progress’ nor going backward, but more aptly named ‘destruction and non consideration of anything we can manipulate to our own gain’.

    • Mankind is driven by greed and power and the crippling belief that in reality we cannot make a difference to our environment no matter what we do – the sense of inevitability that it is already beyond repair. We delude ourselves if we think we are not the Destroyers of Worlds.

  6. I saw a program on PBS about this recently and you have indeed researched this subject well. It is so tragic to see what has happened, those photos of dead coral…move me Wolfie. This is something that makes me ashamed of being human. How could we let this happen? Worse…now we know what we have done, why in the $^%* haven’t we put our hearts into fixing it? Why haven’t we forced our governments to do this….oh it makes me soooooo angry and very sad.
    Great read my friend.

    • It is tragic and it’s not just the coral…it’s whole ecosystems that suffer. Man still has not learnt the lessons the ancient Indians understood so well when they said…Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

      • Yes, my friend… so no one truly owns the Earth, which is what my Kickapoo believe. We are forever caretakers and we have not done well. I hope we can save her but I fear we need to save all that inhabit the our Earth, as she will go on long after we are gone.
        I really like this piece sweet one.

      • Well…we HOPE she will on long after we are gone! The rate we are going that is becoming an increasingly debateable issue 😦 You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren ~ William Henry Hudson 1909, ‘Afoot in England.’ That said…so long as there are ones such as you who fly so close to the very heart of nature, in a sense there is still a whole world of hope out there 🙂 Take care my feathered friend of the earth and the skies 😉

  7. we are destroying the earth day by day and it will never stop we will evenually destroy it altogether and it will be no more like aliens we will be looking for another and the process starts all over again pity we never listen great blog icey xxjen

    • I knew you were here somewhere! I couldn’t find you 😉 We are already like aliens looking for another Earth…searching always searching…I don’t think mankind will ever “draw the line” and ultimately we push on outwards from our own world with a sense of inevitability that it’s already beyond repair and instead seek out new worlds to inhabit and ultimately destroy. If we put as much time, effort and cash flow into saving our homeworld maybe we would someday finally be fit to inhabit new worlds…for the right reasons… 🙂

  8. OMG is this icewolfy’s protest page ????
    I love coral,ive got huge chunks of it all around my
    wash pool in the den “and” i keep it safe…………..
    Just padded my way over to wish you a happy thursday.
    Non protesting hugs. Wolfy xXx

    • 🙂 And a very happy Thursday to you too non protesting Wolfy! How kind of you to pad through…I hope you brought a nice fat juicy rabbit with you 😉 Icewolfie is very hungry!! Hmm…re Coral…I guess it’s far safer and much better off around your den wash pool than it’s natural locations at the mo! Take good care of it Wolfy…your coral needs you 😉 HooOOOOOOWWWWWWWwwwwwwLLLLLLLL…Slightly consoled Icewolfie hugs x 😉

  9. Fabulous blog Wolfie! Can depend on you to give us the facts straight from the hip, It si true we should be caring for the planet, oh NO!! I have a piece of coral!!! well as I am so ancient and I bought it in my second childhood …. or was it my third I must be forgiven.

    I am starting to find my way around this place!!

    Love Susan x aka suki x

    • Hmm….that’s 2 of you admitting to be the loving caretakers of coral now! At least it is in safe hands! Considerably safer than where it naturally resides it would seem…

      And you are not at all ancient 😉 lol…you are on at least your 3rd childhood so you are essentially like Peter Pan! lol no need to worry about becoming ancient then 🙂 You’re doing a great job of finding your way around here too…much better than I did for sure…

      Love Wolfie x 🙂

  10. So scary! If the coral reefs die, so will we~

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