Raise your hand if you still haven’t figured out what coral reefs are! Is this a species of plant or an animal? Then, what are the advantages of coral reefs that require us to continue to protect and preserve them? Let’s have a look at these intriguing facts about coral reefs to clear things up for you!
1. Guess what: coral reefs are not plants!
Yep, for those of you who were still curious, your curiosity has now been answered! Although they appear to be plants at first glance, it turns out that coral reefs are a group of coral creatures that live in symbiosis with a form of algae plant.
‘Reefs’ are sedimentary rocks of limestone or calcium carbonate produced by corals. Meanwhile, corals are colonies of thousands of tiny animals called polyps which then produce lime. Interestingly, coral reefs are also a habitat for various species of plants, animals, and marine microorganisms.
2. They can reduce carbon emissions
This is one of the main reasons why coral reefs must be protected in the future. This marine biota is part of the blue carbon ecosystem, which, like trees on land, can absorb carbon dioxide. Coral reefs play a significant role in efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the midst of the climate crisis.
3. They also can prevent abrasion
Coral reefs also act as seawalls, protecting the coast from storms and waves. Consider what would happen if this protection didn’t exist. The rate of abrasion to the coast will also grow, perhaps reducing the coastline area, causing damage to people’ homes, and even putting people in danger.
4. Coral reefs in Indonesia: Amazon of the Ocean
Other than being the largest archipelagic country in the world, our country is also known as the world’s coral reefs center you know! The area of coral reef ecosystems in Indonesia is estimated to be 2.5 million hectares.
In Papua, there is an underwater area known as the Deborai Peninsula or the Bird’s Head Peninsula. This location is believed to have 600 different varieties of coral reefs and 1,638 different species of reef fish, making it the world’s most diverse coral zone. Isn’t it incredible?
5. Coral reefs’ existences are in danger!
Coral reefs provide us with numerous advantages. Unfortunately, the existence of coral reefs in Indonesia is currently in danger! Changes in temperature have a significant impact on coral reefs. Coral reefs can turn white as a result of stress caused by rising water temperatures. In addition, excessive pollution can also cause coral bleaching, or the whitening of coral reefs.
Corals do not die immediately when they turn white, but they do become extremely vulnerable. It takes a long time for them to recover to their previous state, which can take up to 10-15 years. Meanwhile, more than 50 percent of coral reefs are thought to have died in the last 30 years.
Isn’t it sad to learn that the world’s coral reefs are in jeopardy. Therefore, it is essential that we preserve coral reefs by doing things like not putting trash into the sea and refraining from catching fish with unsafe gear. Furthermore, it is important for all of us, particularly young people, to become more knowledgeable with ocean issues and to become more involved in pushing the government’s implementation of coral reef management policies in Indonesia.
Those that are interested can watch the Sail to Campus program through EcoNusa TV YouTube channel. This program features a wholesome discussion with recognized speakers about a variety of important and interesting themes related to proper marine management, including coral reefs. So, don’t forget to watch and stay tuned for the next Sail to Campus!