The Ocean Portal reported the coral reef has a very diverse life under the sea. Although the coral only covers less than one percent of the Earth’s surface and less than two percent of the ocean’s bottom, it feeds and shelters nearly 25 percent of sea life. A moniker for the reef is “the rainforest of the sea.”
The rainforest of the sea provides medicine, protection of shorelines, food, and jobs based on tourism. It is an estimated value of $30 billion in the United States.
However, the human race has played a heavy toll on the underwater rainforest. For example, pollution, global warming, changing ocean chemistry, invasive species, destructive fishing and overfishing caused many of the reefs, in different places, to be largely destroyed.
Humanosphere also reported that because of the rise of pollution in the oceans of the world and rising temperatures, irreversible damage is happening to the corals. This includes the one near the mouth of the Amazon River, which is 600 feet long.
Intensely high sea temperatures destroy tiny algae in the oceans that are crucial to the health of the oceanic rainforests. The lack of food for the underwater tropical forests causes it to become bleached. As the global temperatures rise, the bleaching is becoming a universal problem, as well as a severe problem for the underwater ecosystems.
Also, the increase in oil drilling and fishing in the area is plaguing the majestic land below the river. However, the Amazon reef is thriving, in spite of its harsh conditions, such as very little oxygen, no light and no photosynthesis. Scientists also stated the area’s condition is less severe than compared to the other underwater tropical forests that prosper in salt water, where it is sunny and clear.
However, 95 percent of the Great Barrier Reef is severely bleached. Severe damage is being done to the 1,600 mile-long World Heritage Site. Another mostly dead coral is one surrounding the tiny remote island nation of Kiritimati, in the Pacific Ocean.
OTTAWA Citizen reported 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, has been bleached. The death of the Great Barrier is caused by anthropogenic climate change.
However, in Australia, the marine reserves of fishing-free zones have been removed. The diverse sea life in the Barrier used to help thicken the underwater forests. This created areas for other plants and fish to live.
In China, photovoltaic are being installed to build a green energy grid. Also, nations signed the Paris Accord and carbon pricing is becoming more well-known to help the underwater ecosystem. However, the efforts are occurring during ongoing droughts and vanishing ice. According to OTTAWA Citizen, the air quality is toxic, and the whales are starving.
The Christian Science Monitor also reported scientists discovered a reef in the muddy waters at the mouth of the Amazon that is thriving. It is 3,700 square miles and is able to exist in sediment-filled blackish water. Scientist Fabiano Thompson, stated, the giant reef is not supposed to exist there.
In 2012, Brazilian Scientist Rodrigo Moura, of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro discovered the reef. The discovery was a part of a larger study of the Amazon. Moura accidentally discovered the coral while dredging a small area offshore.
The Amazon Reef may look like the Great Coral Reef or other tropical rainforests under the sea, however, it is difficult for scientists to go into the ocean and research it because 30,000 cubic meters of water are flowing through it every second. The rapidly flowing seawater makes the sentiment too thick and the current too swift for a scientist to thoroughly evaluate it. However, scientists are studying the Amazon reef.
By John A. Federico
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Ocean Portal: Corals and Coral Reefs
Humanosphere: Coral reef discovered near the Amazon is already endangered
OTTOWA Citizen Report: Ashby: More coral reefs will die, more polar bears will starve. And it’s our fault
The Christian Science Monitor: Surprise! Scientists discover coral reef at mouth of Amazon River