Jan 20, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

The Beautiful Coral Reefs Will Soon Be History

Mar 14, 2017 01:58 AM EDT

Coral reefs are known to be "underwater rainforests", not only because of the vibrant beauty they add to the sea but also for their capability of keeping the equilibrium of ecosystem under the oceans. However, these unique floras recently are facing a dangerous challenge, the one that might see them extinct over the next few decades.

A recent study has revealed that the coral reefs are going to be extinct by 2050. Reports published in The Independent suggest the scientists are giving their full effort to make sure that the coral reefs don't die out completely. It will need some kind of a drastic intervention to save these unique ecosystems, though, as the scientists fear that even curbing the global warming will see only 10 percent of the total coral reefs alive by 2050.

The coral reefs are not only accountable for the formation of oxygen, but also for providing habitat to one in four marine species. Other than saving the coastline from storms, coral reefs are also beneficial for tourism, fishing, and other commerce. The underwater vegetation also contributes to a considerable amount of medical research for cures to diseases like cancer, arthritis and bacterial and viral infections.

According to ABC News, corals are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. A variation of 1-2 degree Celsius in enough for the coral reef to leave the algae on them, and bring out their white skeletons in a process called "bleaching". Apart from the "Great Barrier Reef" in Australia, there has been major damage induced to the coral reefs in the coastal areas of Japan, Hawaii, Florida, and Maldives.

Global warming eventually raises the temperature of the sea water, which induces "bleaching" in coral reefs. Research says that an elevated temperature in the waters surrounding the Republic of Kiribati killed 90 percent of the coral reef there within 10 months in 2015-16. The situation is going to worsen as the temperature is supposed to rise again from the next month.

With almost 50 percent of the global coral reefs already gone, there have been efforts pouring in from researchers, scientists and environmental organizations looking to save the rest. Curbing water pollution, overfishing and rise in coastal development are efforts that are being made to recover from the situation. An initiative to "train" the coral reefs to sustain the rising temperature conditions has also been undertaken.  

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