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Nat Geo: Why This Country is Moving Its Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are the basis for most of the biodiversity in the ocean. They provide habitat, food, and a way in which a huge community of marine species can live with one another. Although vital to the marine ecosystem, coral are very fragile beings. Human impacts like pollution, global warming, ocean acidification, and many more are causing coral reefs to die at a rapid pace. Massive reefs, like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, are almost completely dead and it’s essential that humans find a way to promote their regrowth. The article, “Why This Country is Moving Its Coral Reefs”, talks about successful methods the country of Jordan has created to rebuild its coral reefs. Jordan is located on the Red Sea which is in-between Africa and Asia and is connected to the Indian Ocean. The area is known for its amazing marine ecosystem and attracts a plethora of tourists interested in scuba diving. In the past few years, urban development in an area named the Gulf of Aqaba, has caused the vast coral reefs in that area to die out leaving the area unavailable for scuba diving. Since this area needs the tourism from scuba diving to stimulate its economy, the country decided to act.

In order to help preserve and regrow the coral reefs off the Gulf of Aqaba, corals from the southern region of Jordan were placed in baskets and transported to Aqaba. These corals were then replanted at damaged reef sites in the area. This was done in 2012, and since then, the replanted corals have thrived with an 85% survival rate; new corals have all regenerated and are promoting new growth within the area. Recently, this year the marine park that was rebuilt in 2012, has just reopened to scuba divers. This gives hope to coral reefs around the world that are quickly dying out at a rapid pace. If we somehow manage to halt the processes that are causing coral reefs to die out, we know that replanting them would allow them to rebuild to their former glory. However, if global warming continues, these corals which are specific to Jordan, can be used to replant coral reefs around the world due to their high temperature resistance.

Although Jordan’s efforts of replanting coral have proven successful, it was only done to boost their economy from an increase in tourism due to scuba diving. If we want to implement the replanting of coral reefs on a large scale, it must be done in solely a conservation effort to rebuild marine environments. Scuba diving is an amazing past time, but the presence of humans in such fragile habitats has proven to be harmful. Unexperienced divers tend to accidentally strike coral and other organisms causing damage or even death. To completely save our reefs, we cannot solely replant them for human activity or else the reefs may end up in a similar state as they were previously. Jordan has tried to assist with this problem by establishing areas were scuba divers cannot dive. Hopefully, conservationists can use Jordan’s efforts as a guideline for coral reef rebuilding in order to conserve marine ecosystems around the world.



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