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  • 28 January, 2023

  • 6 Min Read

 Thailand  Corals Getting Destroyed

Thailand Corals Getting Destroyed

  • According to recent reports, Thailand's enormous tracts of the ocean floor are being destroyed by a condition known as yellow band disease that is fast spreading.
  • The reefs may be more susceptible to yellow-band disease as a result of overfishing, pollution, and rising water temperatures brought on by climate change.

More on the news:

  • The corals' colour changes to yellow just before they are killed.
  • It was initially discovered decades ago, and the Caribbean reefs have suffered extensive damage as a result. The affected area of the sea is more than 600 acres.
  • Corals that have been exposed to this yellow-band illness cannot survive. They'll pass away gradually.


  • The ecology may suffer greatly if coral populations decline.
  • Massive numbers of life are supported by the reef, which is "like a forest," and its demise could someday affect humans as well.

About disease:

  • A bacterial infection known as "yellow-band disease" affects coral, leaving behind discoloured bands of pale-yellow or white lesions on the colony's surface.
  • The lesions are where the symbiotic photosynthetic algae, known as zooxanthellae, which are a significant source of energy for the coral, were killed by the bacteria.
  • The coral starves as a result of this cellular damage and the loss of its primary energy supply, which typically results in coral death. There is proof that the sickness may be getting worse due to climate change.
  • Coral and zooxanthellae live in symbiosis and exchange glucose, glycerol, and amino acids.
  • Corals will appear stressed when the water's parameters are met, such as changing water temperatures and an increase in nitrogenous waste.
  • Additionally, under these circumstances, bacteria can flourish inside coral and compete with zooxanthellae.
  • By hindering the zooxanthellae's ability to undergo mitosis and perform photosynthesis, the bacteria finally kills the organism by causing the recognisable pale yellow lesions.

About corals:

  • Corals are invertebrate animals that are part of the Cnidaria phylum, a diverse and intriguing group of colourful creatures. Jelly fish and sea anemones are further members of this group that you may have spotted in rock pools or on the beach.
  • Each individual coral animal is known as a polyp, and the majority of them live in colonies made up of hundreds to thousands of genetically similar polyps.
  • The original polyp physically produces copies of itself during a process known as budding, which is how the colony is created.
  • Hard coral and soft coral are the two main categories of coral.
  • Hard coral, commonly referred to as "reef building" corals, is one of the 800 or so types of known coral.
  • Sea fans, sea feathers, and sea whips are examples of soft corals. Unlike the hard coral, which have calcareous skeletons that resemble rocks, soft corals develop fleshy rinds and wood-like cores for support.

About coral reefs:

  • Coral reefs are formed by millions of microscopic polyps that build substantial carbonate structures.
  • Coral reefs serve as the foundation and the habitat for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of different species. The world's largest living structure and the only one that can be seen from space are coral reefs.

Coral reef characteristics:

  • They can be found in shallow tropical locations with warm, clear, and clean seawater.
  • With more than 800 different kinds of coral, coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, offering habitat and protection to almost 25% of all marine life.

Importance of coral reefs:

  • They shield coasts from tropical storms, support 1 billion people with food and income, and bring in $9.6 billion in annual tourist and recreation.
  • Functions of coral reefs include: providing substrate for mangroves, shelter for plants and fauna, and natural barriers against erosion and storm surge.

Circumstances for coral reef growth:

  • The water shouldn't be any colder than 20°C. Between 23°C and 25°C is the ideal temperature for the development of coral reefs. No more than 35°C should be present.
  • Only saline environments with an average salinity between 27% and 40% are suitable for coral survival.
  • Coral reefs thrive in shallow water that is less than 50 metres deep. The water shouldn't be deeper than 20 feet.

How does a coral reef appear?

Atoll formation according to Darwin's three stages:

Coral reefs were first categorised by Charles Darwin according to their shape and structure, and were given the following descriptions:

  • Near emerging land, there are Fringing reefs. They are relatively new, narrow, and shallow. A navigable waterway, which is sometimes wrongly called a "lagoon," might divide them from the coast.
  • Barrier reefs are larger and are located further inland. A body of water that can be several miles broad and several tens of metres deep separates them from the coast. On top of a barrier reef, sandy islands with a distinctive pattern of vegetation have occasionally emerged. These islands' coastline is divided by passes that have taken over the former riverbeds.
  • Atolls are sizable, ring-shaped offshore reefs with a lagoon in the centre. The most distinctive flora growing on these reefs is composed of coconut trees, and the emergent portion of the reef is frequently covered with accumulated sediments. On islands that are submerged in water or islands that sink, atolls grow close to the water's surface.

Source: The Hindu

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