New coral zombies may lead to the end of most of the coral reefs around the globe. That is because they cannot reproduce and only look healthy from the outside.
We all know that coral reefs around the Global Village are dying slowly and steadily. Scientists looked forward to healthy coral reefs that could help save these other corals from dying. They would literally repopulate the corals of the world.
Yet such blind optimism has turned out to be a false hope of sorts. A new study, presented at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, has debunked the idea that healthy corals could repopulate the world.
These so-called healthy groups of coral are termed “zombies” which in fact have no reproductive capacity whatsoever. Thus they are at best redundant in their use-value.
One of the experts concerned with the matter said that it was such a disappointment. This was definitely not good news. Over 327 coral colonies were examined by researchers.
Elkhorn coral were probed to see if they were able to reproduce. This species of coral is already on the endangered species list. At various sites, the coral seemed to have neither any eggs or sperm which are crucial in the reproductive process.
Thus without the ability to reproduce, these elkhorn coral will peter out in the end. This is because they are virtually zombies which while looking healthy on the outside are as good as dead.
Furthermore, it was noted down that some of the samples from the areas where the most tourists were found had the highest degree of degradation.
Thus the coral reefs that are being explored by divers are in the greatest of dangers of getting annihilated. Oxybenzone, a chemical found in sunscreen lotion was rampant in the coral regions around Hawaii and the Caribbean.
It was the source of a great deal of damage. Besides damaging coral DNA, it destroys its larvae as well thus ensuring that it couldn’t and doesn’t survive.
Oxybenzone also causes coral bleaching. It is most often found in regions where tourists are present in abundance. The aerosol sunscreen that is applied to the skin by tourists out on the beaches of Florida and Hawaii tends to deposit itself on the sand and waters.
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It is washed out to sea and the result is polluted waters that damage the corals. Thus it appears to be the case that corals are facing dire straits. If something is not done to save the situation, they will die out in record numbers thus disrupting the ecological balance of all the other marine species.