The impact of global warming on coral reef ecosystem

Srebočan, Marta (2011) The impact of global warming on coral reef ecosystem. Bachelor's thesis, Faculty of Science > Department of Biology.

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Abstract

The biggest threat to corals is the process of global warming because the increase in sea temperature of only 1-2 º C can lead to their extinction. One of the consequences of global warming, acidification of the oceans which occurs due to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and consequently in the oceans. Acidic environment causes a breakdown of carbonates and the most vulnerable organisms would be corals and some algae. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 is growing rapidly due to human-caused emissions, primarily the burning of fossil fuels. The increase in ocean temperatures, strong UV-radiation and sea level rise are some of the consequences of global warming affecting coral. 12 years ago, due to rising ocean temperatures there was an unprecedented extinction of corals. Because of that, the diversity of fish has reduced, and in some areas has led to local extinction of fish species and a decrease in the number of species. Symbiotic algae that live with corals, carrying out photosynthesis in corals provide fuel for a new skeleton. But when the corals are under thermal stress, they lose their algae and slowly die. When corals lose enough algae, they become white, and that is called " bleaching ". Corals, like a deer horn, Acropora, colonies are most vulnerable when confronted with the temperature stress and diseases, because they use energy for rapid growth and reproduction and have less in reserve for their immune response. A key element of the immune system of coral production of melanin, which provides defense against organisms that cause disease in corals. The main factors that cause "bleaching" of corals are attacks that cause disease and temperature stress. Global warming slows the recovery of ozone and thereby close the ozone hole and all the more dangerous radiation coming to the Earth. Reef organisms use different mechanisms to defend themselves from UV- light. These are "bleaching", the protection and repair. Some corals such as Acropora and Pocillopora have pigments that absorb UV- light. Corals should be protected from UV- radiation because it inhibits photosynthesis. Sea levek rise will affect the ecosystem of coral reefs that live on the depth limit of coral growth, which in low light conditions will no longer be able to maintain growth, which will likely lead to death. However, some researchers argue that rising sea levels can actually be beneficial, because the new conditions will be favorable for the vertical growth of reefs. Corals have many mechanisms to adapt to stress. However, when they are weakened, their systems become vulnerable. When destroyed, it takes more than 25 years for repair and reconstruction of even the smallest of coral colonies. Coral recovery from the adverse event depends on the extent of destruction, sources close to recolonization and favorable conditions of habitat.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's thesis)
Supervisor: Kružić, Petar
Date: 2011
Number of Pages: 14
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Department of Biology
Depositing User: Silvana Šehić
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2014 09:42
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2014 09:42
URI: http://digre.pmf.unizg.hr/id/eprint/3189

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