When you think of coral reefs do you ever think about the part they play in our ecosystem? If you are a diver you might have a good knowledge of how important they are, but generally we have very little understanding of what coral reefs do. This is a topic we should all learn more about, especially if we want to be aware of how to protect this priceless environment.
Of course we all understand that fish and other marine species live in coral reefs. Coral reefs are the nurseries of the sea with around a quarter of the ocean’s fish coming from reef habitats. That’s a lot of fish!!
Another amazing fact is that around one billion people depend on coral reefs for food and income from fishing. If the reefs are manages properly and protected from destructive fishing methods, every square kilometer can yield around 15 tonnes of fish and other edible marine life per year.
The incredible biodiversity in coral reef habitats also ensures some life will continue on even after a major catastrophic event. Without this biodiversity there would be no insurance for the continuance of life in the oceans.
Coral reefs are nature’s wave breakers. They can protect coastlines from erosion, flooding and loss of property during storms, hurricanes, typhoons and even tsunamis. When coral reefs are destroyed coastlines suffer, and often money has to be spent to build man-made coastal defenses.
At Gangga Island Resort, the coastline was suffering from massive erosion until biorock formations were built. This artificial reef allows new corals to grow and existing reefs to be rehabilitated. You can read more about this here: Learn How Biorock Works with Natural Reefs at Gangga Island
Coral reefs are a very significant source of revenue for many countries in the world. Indonesia has some of the most incredible and diverse coral reefs, which brings in millions of tourist dollars every year. Across the archipelago people are earning their living from tourism. This in turn encourages local people and government to preserve the health of the reefs.
Gangga Island is a very small island off the coast of Manado, North Sulawesi. There are only 2 villages and many of the staff members at Gangga Island Resort & Spa are local people. Their main source of income was always from fishing, but now they also have tourism to sustain their families.
Medical Research & Advances
Scientists are constantly studying coral reef environments and the species that live within them. Along with tropical rainforests, coral reefs have yielded some of the most incredible advances in medicine in the past decades.
For example, Secosteroids, an enzyme used by corals to protect themselves from disease, is used to treat asthma, arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. There are also many anti-cancer compounds and treatments found in coral reefs.
As long as we can keep coral reefs healthy, many more important medical advances are sure to be made from coral reef research.
So now you know why we need coral reefs
Coral reef environments are so much more than pretty things to look at. They are in fact so important to our whole ecosystem it’s almost impossible to convey in a short article. Hopefully, you know now why we work so hard at our hotels to educate local people on the importance of coral reef conservation and work together to keep the reefs healthy.
Did you learn anything new about coral reefs from this article? We’d love to know if you did in the comments below.