Sample Environmental and Biological Papers on Importance of Planets Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are among the oldest habitats in the world. They have been around for at least
230 million years. Though they take just a small proportion of the world's ocean, coral reefs hold
over a quarter of all oceans. The building of reefs is the responsibility of the tiny organism
known as coral polyps. Despite the coral reefs making up a small portion of the world's ocean,
their importance is numerous, making them a crucial part of the environment that should be
protected. The planet's coral reefs have more significance to the natural environment since they
provide jobs, act as natural protection, and offer recreation opportunities.
One of the coral reefs' importance is they act as a natural protection guarding shorelines
and coastal areas from the effects of large waves, storms, and hurricanes as they make landfall.
Coral reefs begin to develop as coral larvae swim free along the edges of islands and continents
on the surrounding rocks and other hard surfaces. The reefs take one of three essential structures
that border, barrier, or atoll. As corals grow, they expand. The most common, fringing reefs
project directly from the shore into the sea and form boundaries on the island's coastline. The
reefs of the barrier still surround the coasts, but more distantly. A lagoon of open, sometimes
deep water divides them from their neighboring landmass. The reef platform may form part of
one or more islands, and reef gaps offer access to the central lagoon. Therefore, as the reefs grow
and expand, they represent an initial line to defend against erosion and flooding through wave
reduction and sand development and conservation (Elliff, and Iracem 2). As a result, these

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naturally occurring barriers prevent death, protect real estate, including houses, ports, and
marinas, and protect against shoreline erosion by functioning much like low crested breakwaters,
dissipate energy from waves, and protect the shoreline, thus acting as natural protection
protecting shorelines and coastal areas from the effects of large waves, storms, and hurricanes.
Another importance of coral reefs is their economic activities, such as fishery, which
improve coral reefs. Coral reefs are essential spawning, nursery, breeding, and feeding grounds
for various species (Robles-Zavala and Reynoso 5). In terms of biodiversity, the number of
species living on a coral reef is more significant than in any other shallow-water marine
environment. It is one of the most abundant on the planet. Hence, coral reefs host more than 800
hard coral species and more than 4,000 species of fish, resulting in areas around coral reefs to be
hot spots for fishers, who capture and sell the fish, thus earning a living. Approximately half of
all U.S. federal fisheries rely on a portion of their life cycle on coral reefs and their associated
ecosystems. The NOAA NMS estimates that U.S. coral reef fisheries have an annual commercial
value of more than $100 million. Reef fishing generates more than $100 million per annum in
the U.S. According to an estimation of $5.7 billion in worldwide fisheries benefits, coral reef net
profit amounts to a total of $29.8 billion. In Southeast Asia alone, sustainable reef fishing is
worth 2.4 billion dollars per year. The values of deep-sea corals, which themselves accommodate
numerous commercially valuable species and, consequently, additional fish value, are not
considered. Therefore, due to coral reefs, fishing drives, thus resulting in coastal areas' economic
growth around coral reefs.
Furthermore, coral reefs offer recreation opportunities. Due to the abundance of
biodiversity, the number of species living on a coral reef is more significant than in any other
shallow-water marine environment. It is one of the most abundant on the planet. This aspect

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makes coral reefs attract tourists either directly or indirectly. The features formed during the
formation of the coral reefs such as atolls and lagoons attract tourists. A new MOW report
published in the Marine Policy Journal shows that 70 million trips per year are supported by the
world's coral reefs, which makes this reef a powerful tourism engine. In the tropical regions'
economy, reefs also form an indispensable component (Robles-Zavala and Reynoso 2). The reefs
draw divers, free fans, recreational fishers, and beach lovers. People come to the reefs
themselves, to swim among hordes of fish, through shimmering coral gardens. Also, tropical
beach holidays are possibly made possible by a coral reef, even though one cannot snorkel and
dive on a reef. Reef tourism supports more than 100 countries, and in more than 20 nations, it
contributes over 30% of export income. Therefore, the poster child for nature-oriented tourism is
coral reefs since they offer recreational opportunities directly or indirectly.
Coral reefs' contribution to the planet is numerous, but coral reefs face a threat brought
by climate change despite these contributions. Climate change makes extreme storms and mass
bleaching more frequent and intense, turning some once-flourishing marine ecosystems into
underwater deserts due to the growth of unhealthy coral reefs. Therefore, there is a need for
changes to environmental laws to ensure the coral reefs are protected since their loss will be
catastrophic for the planet and the people working and tourism-dependent in coral reefs.

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Works Cited

Elliff, Carla I., and Iracema R. Silva. "Coral Reefs as the First Line of Defense: Shoreline
Protection in Face of Climate Change." Marine Environmental Research, vol. 27, 2017,
pp. 148-154.
Robles-Zavala, Edgar, and Alejandra Guadalupe Chang Reynoso. "The Recreational Value of
Coral Reefs In The Mexican Pacific." Ocean & Coastal Management, vol. 157, 2018,