2. What are coral reefs? Discuss their origin. Also, explain the ecological services provided by coral reefs. (10 Marks)
कोरल रीफ्स क्या हैं? उनकी उत्पत्ति पर चर्चा करें। इसके अलावा, कोरल रीफ द्वारा प्रदान की जाने वाली पारिस्थितिक सेवाओं की व्याख्या करें।
Students are expected to write about the coral reefs and also write about the origin of coral reefs with highlighting the ecological service and it’s significance.
A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups.
- Coral polyps are tiny and fleshy sea anemones that live in tropical and subtropical oceans and seas. They live in shallow waters along with microscopic algae called Zooxanthellae, with which they share a symbiotic relationship.
- This algae has photosynthesis abilities that feed the coral polyps with carbon compounds which give them energy. In return, the polyps provide protection to Zooxanthellae.
- Coral reefs supply a wide range of ecosystem services and goods, such as food provision, shoreline protection, erosion regulation, biogeochemical cycling, and tourism and recreation opportunities.
- Coral reefs are said to be the medicine chests of the sea. Some fish that the corals attract, leave behind some chemical compounds that are similar to the ones used in human hospitals.
- Most of the gross national product of countries with coral reef industries comes from the tourism sector due to these beautiful corals.
- Fishing, diving, and snorkeling on and near reefs add hundreds of millions of dollars to local businesses.
- Coral reefs protect coastlines from storms and erosion, provide jobs for local communities, and offer opportunities for recreation.
Coral reefs have sustained life for over a million years. Its diverse ecosystem keeps marine life running. It would not be in our best interest to interfere with the coral reefs. Conservation methods should therefore be taken to protect these beautiful polyps.