How does coral bleaching impact wildlife?
Coral reefs support some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Thousands of marine animals depend on coral reefs for survival, including some species of sea turtles, fish, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish, sea birds, starfish, and more. Coral reefs provide shelter, spawning grounds, and protection from predators. They also support organisms at the base of ocean food chains. As reef ecosystems collapse, already at-risk species may face extinction.
How does coral bleaching impact humans?
Coral bleaching impacts peoples’ livelihoods, food security, and safety. Coral reefs are natural barriers that absorb the force of waves and storm surges, keeping coastal communities safe. Without them, we must rely on manmade seawalls that are expensive, less effective, and environmentally damaging to construct. Bleached coral also compounds the overfishing crisis by removing links in the food web and depriving some fish and crustacean species of a place to spawn and develop. Anyone relying on these animals as a primary source of income or protein will be in trouble. Finally, reef tourism brings in billions of dollars each year and supports thousands of jobs. Bleached coral reefs, devoid of magnificent marine species, jeopardize it all