Catherine Gildea via Crowdrise
July 25, 2012
Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth, rivaled only by tropical rain forests. They are made up not only of hard and soft corals, but also sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, and much more.
Coral reefs are very fragile and are easily damaged by both direct and indirect threats.
Direct threats are: boats which can crush coral -- destroying years/decades of coral growth, negligent divers harming corals by touching and standing on them -- making them vulnerable to death and disease, and fisherman using lobster and stone crab traps which can damage reefs and entangle marine life.
Indirect threats are: large debris/plastic coming from land and sea which can break coral apart and strangle sea life, inadequate waste water treatment jeopardizing water quality, and storm water runoff which can contain harmful pollutants.
Coral reefs are found in 109 countries throughout the world, but it is estimated that they have been damaged or destroyed by human activity in at least 93 countries. With each reef lost, countless forms of unique tropical marine life move closer to extinction and indigenous communities are forced to move from their ancestral lands.
Reef Relief is working to protect coral reef ecosystems by:
* Increasing public awareness of the importance and value of living coral reef ecosystems
* Increasing scientific understanding and knowledge of living coral reef ecosystems
* Strengthening grassroots community-based efforts to protect coral reef ecosystems
* Designing, developing, and helping to implement strategies for marine protected areas associated with coral reef ecosystems and
* Encouraging and supporting eco-tourism as part of sustainable community development that protects and preserves coral reef ecosystems
This is a great organization which helps protect coral reef ecosystems in the Florida Keys and also in other countries.