A coral bleaching video depicting a blob of coral losing its color is the perfect depiction of the sad reality of pollution. The video shows how algal residents are ejected by the marine invertebrate in the bleaching process.
The video managed to capture the physical reaction of a Heliofungia actiniforms coral specimen to heat stress. The powerful images are the perfect depiction of how marine life is suffering due to climate change and severe pollution levels.
“Mass coral bleaching events are a concern for scientists globally with recent events on the Great Barrier Reef highlighting the threat of elevated water temperatures to the heat of reef ecosystems,”
declared Luke Nothdurft, a researcher at the Technology University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Like any other coral types, the H. actiniformis harbors zooxanthellae algae, a colorful species that seek refuge in the coral. The relation between the two is symbiotic, one being lost without the other. The algae “pays” its “rent” with food resulted from the photosynthesis process.
However, when the coral is exposed to stressful situations, it expulses the algae leading to a white or transparent color. Unfortunately, bleached coral doesn’t survive long, without the presence of the algae, it dies.
Coral reefs are not only important for the algae that seek refuge in them. Hundreds of fish species adapted their existence around the marine invertebrates. Some use it for refuge, others as a hunting ground. Most depend on it for one reason or another.
A recent study showed that, apart from the algae that feed and color the coral, fish pee also plays a major role in its survival.
It seems that fish urine contains vital nutrients that ensure the survival of coral. This means that coral has a chance of survival, taking in nutrients from other sources. However, commercial fishing is taking away this option, as well.
Destressing is possible, but it implies the elimination of all stress factors. One of the major contributors of coral bleaching is climate change which makes the waters a littler warmer than the coral prefers.
Another main cause of bleaching is pollution. Toxic waste dumped into the waters modifies the chemical balance of the ocean, exposing coral to unnecessary stress.
Image source: Wikipedia