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Coral reefs are vital to global environmental sustainability because they provide the most active aquatic ecosystem. Humans depend on coral reefs for efficient fisheries. Algae and coral reefs have a food relationship, but when things go wrong, the reefs are in danger of being decimated. Forest Rohwer of San Diego State University (SDSU) and Craig Nelson of the University of Hawaii published their new scientific discovery about this interdependence and the danger it entails in the journal Nature Microbiology in April 2016. Their investigation revealed the dangers that algae pose to the coral reef community. Research conducted by biologist Andreas Haas of San Diego State University (SDSU) and Craig Nelson of the University of Hawaii, in the journal, Nature Microbiology. Their research discovered the threat that algae pose to the coral reef ecosystem.
Research conducted by biologist Andreas Haas of San Diego State University (SDSU) uncovered that algae produce dissolved organic carbon, which is eaten by microbes as nutrients. Copious amounts of algae increase the number of microbes that depend on them for nutrients. Since algae mostly grows on the reefs, the high level of microbes does not support the reef ecosystem. This is because microbes deplete oxygen from the environment and introduce diseases to the reefs. The coral reefs eventually die off and its place taken by algae.
In conclusion it is very important for human to beware of their activities that will exacerbate the extinction of coral reefs. Overfishing around coral reef areas will result in removal of the major algae feeders, which means that algae will increase and consequently degrade coral reef’s population. This discovery is crucial to those that engage in fishing as an economic activity.
Ainsworth, T. D., Thurber, R. V., & Gates, R. D. (2010). The future of coral reefs: a microbial perspective. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25(4), 233-240.
Garren, M., & Azam, F. (2012). New directions in coral reef microbial ecology. Environmental microbiology, 14(4), 833-844.
OMORI, M. (2008). Activities toward conservation and recovery of coral reefs at Akajima Marine Science Laboratory: Prospect of coral reef ecosystem preservation. Journal Of The Japanese Coral Reef Society, 10(1), 117-120. http://dx.doi.org/10.3755/jcrs.10.117
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