Corals: endangered species

From plastic pollution to the discovery of new species, discover the Aquarium files dedicated to the ocean!

Corals: endangered species

As the tropical rainforest, coral reefs are rich ecosystems. They provide a home for 25% of all marine biodiversity with more than 100 000 species. They play a crucial part for entire populations: offering biological resources, economic activity (tourism) and a pharmaceutical research field. They protect the shore from submersion and represent an important cultural patrimony. Unfortunately, many dangers now threaten their survival…

Natural threats

Since the beginning of time, corals have faced many predators: Parrotfish or Butterflyfish feed on its polyps along with starfish. Climatic phenomenon (storm and cyclones) also play a destructive part. Colonies are situated in areas with specific climate conditions. But coral reefs have a resilient capacity when confronted to these events. They are able to regenerate, even if they need ten years to go back to their initial state.

Human threats

Human activities also play a part in these destructions. They can be local, as pollution, littoral development, and agricultural activities and often have limited geographic consequences but affect daily some parts of the coral reef. Other damages are more global. For example climate change could increase the frequency of cyclones and storms.

The rise of 1 to 2°C of the ocean temperature could intensify the episodes of coral whitening, leading to a higher mortality of large portions of coral reefs. These various attacks, added to the threats from nature could lead to an exceeding of the ductility of coral reefs. They will have more difficulties to regenerate. . Mankind is therefore to be held responsible for the increase of natural damages.

Banish the takings

Of course, given these threats, it is mandatory to preserve the colonies. That’s the main reason why the Aquarium as developed, many years ago, the reproduction of corals thanks to propagation technics, avoiding any taking from nature. If you want to learn more: Temporary exhibition “Coral reef, ancient in peril”, Free access in the Aquarium hall until March 2018.

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