Coral reefs are made by colonies of tiny marine creatures and are held together by the calcium carbonate structures that are usually secreted by the corals. The stony corals consist of polyps that belong to animals known Cnidaria that also includes jellyfish and sea anemones. They provide home to 25% of marine species that includes mollusks, fish, worms, sponges, and Cnidarians. These Coral Reefs also carry an ecological significance on the planet, as it is a home to many marine creatures, assist in nitrogen and carbon fixing, nutrient recycling, and a source of essential nutrients for the entire food chain.
The Longest Coral Reefs in the World
The Great Barrier Reef located in Australia is one of the longest coral reefs that is 1,553 miles long. The Red Sea Coral Reef based near Israel, Egypt and Djibouti is 1,180 miles long and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef based in the Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia is 932 miles long.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the longest of all coral reefs, as it is made up of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands that stretch over an area of 2,300 kilometers. It is located along the coast of Queensland in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef supports the living of many vulnerable and endangered species. There are 30 species of dolphins, whales and porpoises found in Reef that includes humpback whale, dwarf minke whale and Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin. There are 1,500 species of fishes, six species of turtles, 215 species of sea and shore birds, nine species of seahorse and much more. The permanent tourism platform poses threat to ecotourism because of scuba diving, snorkeling, Seabirds' defecation that is washed into the sea can causes such diseases as black- and yellow-band, and the excessive wake from the speed of the boat causes disturbances to the Reef system.
Other Major Coral Reefs
The Red Sea Coral Reef bordering Israel, Djibouti, and Egypt and the corals over an area of 20-50% and is highly salty and warm. It includes such species as Goldfish, Dugong, Minke Whale, Red Sea Fan, and Carnation Coral. However, the main tourism pressure posed on it is due to scuba diving, souvenir collecting, recreational activities near the coast, and spear fishing. The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is located in South Pacific in the nation of New Caledonia and is a home to many endangered species of Dugongs, nesting site for Green Sea Turtle, water striders, giant clams, and Red-Footed Booby. The main danger is caused due to overfishing, sedimentation, recreational activities, and industrial pollution.
Threats and the Need for Protecting Coral Reefs
The main threats posed to Coral Reefs are due to overfishing, urban pollution, digging of canals, blast fishing, ocean acidification, and greenhouse emissions. Due to bottom trawling, the Coral Reefs are under fire that has made them unable to sustain themselves. Even with increased water temperatures, most of the coral reefs have died underwater. However, the Coral Reefs can be protected with the help of habitat protection and marine management activities. The Marine Protected Areas have also helped in stopping the activities that are carried out near the Reefs. The states are now looking forward to stop overfishing, limiting and regulating tourism activities, and controlling of sewage wastes.
The Longest Coral Reefs In The World
|1||Great Barrier Reef||1,553 miles||Coral Sea near Australia|
|2||Red Sea Coral Reef||1,180 miles||Red Sea near Israel, Egypt and Djibouti|
|3||New Caledonia Barrier Reef||932 miles||Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia|
|4||The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef||585 miles||Atlantic Ocean near Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras|
|5||Great Chagos Bank||310 miles||The Maldives|
|6||Florida Reef||200 miles||Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico near Florida|
|7||Andros Coral Reef||124 miles||Bahamas between the islands of Andros and Nassau|
|8||Zhongsha Islands||50 miles||South China Sea|