Coral coloring occurs because of the breakdown of zooxanthellae and coral host. Coral host and zooxanthellae provide most of the color. Without Zuzanthella, the coral tissue is transparent and has a white and shiny coral skeleton.
Coral die of hunger after they bleach… Although some of the corals can feed themselves, most of the corals struggle to live without zooxanthellae.
Significance of Coral Bleaching :
Coral reefs are marine vertebrates commonly found in compact and tightly integrated colonies. They are living organisms located at the bottom of the oceans, like plants associated with the Earth.
Corals have usually painted algae resembling corals, called zooxanthellae, in control for coral pale pink pigmentation. The algae also provide 90% of the coral energy source and are important for the health of polyps, coral, as well as coral reefs in general Zooxanthellae, offer nutrients to coral reefs through photosynthesis.
Coral, on the other hand, provides carbon dioxide and ammonium to zooxanthellae. This relationship, which benefits both organisms, is known as a symbiotic relationship. However, above-average sea temperatures can cause polyps to eject algae living in their tissues.
These types of conditions put stress on their relationships, constrain resources and force algae to leave the coral. Soon, the energy source is exhausted and the coral becomes white and colorless, often leading to illness and death…
Coral Bleaching Causes :
Coral bleaching can have several causes, here are 6 of them,
- Climate and temperature
Climate is one of the main coral bleaching causes. Warming planet signifies a warmer environment, and a change in water temperature can result in the elimination of coral algae.
The color of the corals may change for other reasons, such as extremely low tide, pollution or excessive sunlight. Changes in water temperature affect photosynthesis of zooxanthellae, forcing them to leave coral reefs and depriving corals of essential resources.
- Solar radiation
During the summer months, solar radiation can cause coral bleaching. Photovoltaic and UV rays are one of the coral bleaching causes.
- Underwater exposure
Low tides, low sea level, and tectonic elevation can lead to sudden exposure of corals to the atmosphere. Whether exposure to low or high temperatures, increased exposure to sunlight or drought, exposure below sea level often results in bleaching and subsequent coral death due to sudden changes in weather conditions.
Although rare, coral bleaching can sometimes be associated with sediment. Activities like coastal construction and land clearing can result in higher erosion rates, increased sediment content in the water, and disruption of the natural process of photosynthesis.
- Relieve fresh water
After severe thunderstorms or heavy rains, increased precipitation in freshwater can be a cause of fast dilution, increasing the salinity of the water. These events, though rare, can be a cause of color leaching in small areas.
- Inorganic food
The increase in inorganic nutrients does not deplete the coral zooxanthella but strikes it by increasing its content by 2-3 times. Although this cannot be one of the direct color bleaching causes, undesirable side effects can occur, such as reduced resistance to coral reefs and increased exposure to diseases.
Coral bleaching is an actual concern. Yet sometimes, technical terminology can create a barrier for people who have trouble understanding the coral bleaching concept as well as coral bleaching causes.
Therefore it is important to know what is coral bleaching, how it bleeds, and how it really affects all the aspects of life. Coral coloring is important because once these reefs are dead; they only come back very rarely. With some of the corals still alive, they struggle for reproduction and the whole system on which the population and wildlife depend is destructed.