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NOW READING: 10 Threats to the World's Stunning Coral Reefs

10 Threats to Coral reefs

10 Threats to the World's Stunning Coral Reefs

Large underwater structures consist of the skeletons of marine invertebrates that live in a colony. These colonial Marine invertebrates are called corals. Every individual Coral is called a polyp.

They live on the exoskeleton of the polyps before them and then gradually add their exoskeleton to it. This gives rise to the building up of coral structures. In this article, we will discover 10 threats to the world's stunning coral reefs

10 Threats to the World's Stunning Coral Reefs

Importance of Coral Reefs:

Coral reefs are very important in various aspects 

Provides habitat- Coral reefs provide shelter and habitat to many other sea organisms. This can be fishes, plants, invertebrates, turtles and mammals, etc. They support a large group of organisms present in the sea. It is like home to them.

Recycling- They are responsible for nutrient recycling. It says the nutrients and makes use of them again. Nutrients are very important for sea life; coral reef helps a lot in maintaining and reusing them. 

Protection- Tropical Storms are very common on the coastlines. Coral reefs protect the coastlines from the damaging effects of storms and wave action. This is a really important benefit of coral leaves.

Nitrogen and carbon fixation- Coral reefs are important because they provide nitrogen and other essential nutrients to sea life. They are also required for carbon and nitrogen fixation. The absence or damage to coral reefs can have very adverse effects on these cycles.

Unfortunately, threats to coral reefs have been increased which is damaging the coral reefs very badly. These threats are divided into two categories i.e., human threats to coral reefs and natural threats to coral reefs. 

We will discuss both of them individually. 

10 Threats to the World's Stunning Coral Reefs

Human threats to coral reefs:

Human activities are a major threat to coral reefs. Humans have become very careless to marine life. This results in massive damage to the organisms living underwater.

Pollution :

Most of the pollution is caused on land but it somehow finds its way towards the sea. Humans have become so irresponsible that now the pollution is dumped in the ocean directly. 

  • This is very irresponsible and careless behavior on behalf of humans.
  • Threats to coral reefs have been an increase in the past years. Pollution can be of many types, some of them are discussed. 

Deposition of Nitrogen and phosphorus :

Many nutrients are deposited into the seawater. These can be the waste from factories that are directly thrown into the oceans. Nutrients can also be deposited into the sea by the use of fertilizers. 

Different sewage discharges are also dumped into the seawater through the pipes. The excess of nutrients gives rise to a layer of fungus.

This can block the path of Sunlight and can develop other microorganisms like bacteria and fungi which act as pathogens for coral reefs. 

Dumping plastic and trash into the seawater:

Threats to coral reefs has been increased by the continuous deposition of plastic into the seawater. They are responsible for trapping and killing sea organisms.

  • Coral leaves are also damaged by trash and plastic, when corals eat plastic or other crash it blocks their digestive system which as a result produces toxins and kills them. 
  • Human threats to coral reefs not only affect the coral reefs that also affect the entire sea life. 

Overfishing is a threat:

Overfishing is another human threat to coral reefs. It can lead to the trapping of the type of fishes which helps in developing coral reefs. Some of the people also use explosive material to kill the fishes. This can cause immense damage to the coral reefs. This method should be banned and humans should be responsible enough not to increase the threats to coral reefs. 


Humans extract coral reefs to produce jewelry, medicine, Aquarium trade, etc. they in their greed extract so much of it that it destroys the coral reef forever. 

  • There should be a balance of extracting so that the Coral reefs will not get destroyed and they can be used again for such purposes. 
  • All such activities damage the coral reefs on a larger aspect. Human threats to coral reefs should be taken seriously. 

Measures should be taken to save the coral reefs and sea life. Humans should have a sense of responsibility for other organisms. They should not make themselves and their activities threats to coral reefs. 

Image of bleached corals off of Lizard Island in the GBR

Natural threats to coral reefs:

Now we will discuss the natural threats to coral leaves. The environment can affect the coral reefs and sea life in many ways some of them are discussed.

Increase temperature 

Increased temperature of the seawater can have adverse effects. Temperature changes in the climate can make the seawater warmer for the sea life. 

  • The rise in temperature damages the organisms that corals need for their food. 
  • Another condition known as Coral bleaching also happens in which corals lose their coloration and become in able to perform their job.
  • If this condition is prolonged and the temperature does not drop Corals can die or become vulnerable to other diseases like infection conditions. 

Hence the high temperature of seawater is a Natural threat to coral reefs. 

Acidification of the ocean

When the sea absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere it can cause chemical changes in the sea. 

  • The immense amount of carbon dioxide reacts to form carbonic acid which makes the ocean acidic. 
  • It has been increasing every year, the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed is more than the requirement of it.

 As a result, it affects the whole cycle both environment and seawater Have more carbon dioxide present in it. An increased level of carbon dioxide reduces the dissolved level of salt and iron which is required by coral reefs to develop. 


The coral reef has been affected by human and natural activities. It has been damaging and destroying rapidly for some years. If humans do not become aware of it and measures are not taken, coral reefs will be destroyed forever. It will not only affect sea life but also human beings.

There will be no relief to use in medicines or making pieces of jewelry etc. Natural threats to coral reefs are present but they are also the counteraction of human actions. Coral reefs should be saved and all the threats to them should be eliminated.

Here at Atolea, we are selling Ocean-inspired jewelry that gives back to Coral restoration charities. So when you buy on Atolea, a portion of your purchase will go directly to keeping our oceans safe, clean & beautiful!

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