What is Coral Bleaching?

What is Coral Bleaching?

Coral is actually an ocean creature. Coral reefs are beauty of the planet. However, due to the climate change and global warming, these coral reefs are in trouble. Corals are very fragile ocean animals that build a shell around itself. They live in harmony with a certain algae. These colorful algae and coral form a perfect ecosystem.

How Coral and Algae live together?

The Corals and Algae depend on each other to survive. The algae make food of its own in presence of sunlight and chlorophyll. This process is called photosynthesis through which the plants convert light energy into chemical energy to store energy in the form of starch. The food is shared by the coral, and in turn, the coral provides algae a safe place to live. The algae also give the coral its beautiful colors but without them, corals start losing its color and die. Both corals and algae live in clean shallow waters where the sun shines brightly. On the other hand, fishes love coral reefs for its nooks and crannies that form hiding place for them.

How climate change disrupts the coral ecosystem?

This beautiful sea ecosystem is getting disrupted by the climate change. When the CO2 emission increases in the atmosphere, the ocean water turns too warm. As a result, the algae could not carry out the photosynthesis process in very warm water. Eventually, the coral gets stressed because of lack of food. Finally, the algae die or the stressed coral spits it out. When either of this happens, the coral starts becoming weak and loses its colorful food sources. As soon as the relationship between coral and algae breaks, the coral starts to fade and remains white and pale. This phenomenon is called coral bleaching. Coral bleaching makes the coral vulnerable and susceptible to disease, eventually makes it die.

When coral bleaching happens in a grand scale, it causes the coral reefs to get extinct soon in many places around the world. Surviving a bleaching event is possible for coral. If the stress-caused coral bleaching is not severe, the coral can recover soon. But if the algae loss and stress continues for a prolonged time, the coral eventually dies.

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