Is your sunscreen a Coral killer?
In addition to the pernicious effects of global warming on Marine ecosystems, chemicals in sunscreens and other skin-care products have been detected in Marine and freshwater recreation areas, where they accumulate and degrade into toxic substances in aquatic animals.Experiments in multiple seas have shown that even very small amounts of sunscreen can trigger a lot of coral slime to seep out within 18 to 48 hours and cause the corals to completely bleach within 96 hours.When it comes to coral bleaching, it comes down to the environment in which the corals live, and it’s the algae that live in symbiosis with the polyps. These algae have different pigments to make the beautiful corals, and coral bleaching is the result of these symbiosis algae leaving the coral.What we call twig-like corals are actually made up of large numbers of dead polyps, living polyps attached to them, and symbiotic algae.The carcasses of polyps are the limestone skeletons that the polyps secrete as they grow.Individual polyps are bonded to each other by connective material and live in colonies for generations, and when the last generation dies, the new generation continues to breed on their remains.Over time, generations of polyps continue to grow, forming a beautiful landscape in the sea.In this process, symbiotic algae, which provide the polyps with energy, play an important role.Polyps produce waste products such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus during their metabolism. These waste products, which are useless to the polyps, are the raw materials needed by symbiotic algae to carry out photosynthesis.In return, they receive the algae that the polyps nourish, which in turn provide the polyps with oxygen and readily digestible nutrients such as glucose, glycerin and amino acids.These symbiotic algae are sensitive to changes in the water environment, and can’t function properly when the water heats up, pollution and species change. They can even produce substances harmful to coral polyps.As a result, the corals and the symbiotic algae separate from each other, and the polyps’ energy source disappears, resulting in a “blackout” that prevents the polyps from surviving and dying.Without the pigment-rich algae, the coral slowly reverts to the limestone’s original whiteness, known as coral bleaching.Scientists are now on the move, not only analyzing data on Marine environments and populations in the lab, but also planting corals in the sea.The job is known as the “ecological restoration” coral reefs, starting from the concept of an ecosystem, kind of coral are just the first step of the second will add many biological function class, to help severely damaged the coral reef area better and faster to restore the ecological environment, at the same time to accumulate more scientific research data, for the research of Marine ecological environment protection to provide a large number of rich information.In a completely natural state, the recovery cycle of a stony coral community is about 10-15 years, which is a rather slow process, and when the number of coral reefs in the ocean declines to a certain extent, desertification will occur.Is protecting coral just to recreate the beauty of the sea floor?The answer, of course, is no.Corals are not just underwater vases to look at.Known as the “tropical rainforests of the sea” and the “Great Wall of the sea” in the underwater world, coral reefs are considered to be one of the oldest and most colorful ecosystems on earth.Coral reefs make up less than 0.25 per cent of the world’s oceans, but support a quarter of all Marine species and provide food and breeding grounds for many fish.When corals die, so do the plants and animals that live on coral reefs. Red, brown and green algae take their place, plankton blooms, water quality deteriorates, and entire ecosystems are destroyed.Corals also protect shorelines from wind and waves.A healthy coral reef can absorb more than 90 percent of waves, so protecting corals is actually protecting us.Source: Science