Trouble in Paradise: Factors that Impact Coral Health
Part B: Local Activities That Threaten Coral Reefs
The Reefs at Risk maps in Google Earth allowed you to see the overall effects different activities have on coral reefs. By evaluating the contributions various local activities have on the estimated overall threat level, you will be able to better identify the major causes of reef degradation and understand the links between location, human activities, and reef conditions.
While local threats can be categorized in different ways, these labs will refer to the following four categories:
1. Download the Local Reef Threats kmz file to your computer.
LocalReefThreats.kmz (KMZ File 9kB Feb5 20)
2. When the file has downloaded, locate it and place it in the folder that you set up for this lab.
3. Open Google Earth and the KMZ file Local Reef Threats, which contains 20 place markers for reef sites around the globe with examples of recently documented local threats. Keep on the layer for Reefs at Risk 2011 from Lab 5A; it will help you to visualize the reef locations as you look at the threats in this lab.
4. In the Places menu, click open the Local Reef Threats list to see the list of all the sites.
Pause the tour to click the place markers and learn more about a documented local threat at that site.
Stop and Think
4: How do the threats posed by watersheds, coastal development, exploitive fishing, and physical damage compare to one another? Which factor appears to have the largest impact on coral reef health? Explain.
5. Read the following pdfs to find out more about the effects of Watershed Pollution (Acrobat (PDF) 390kB Mar11 20), Coastal Development (Acrobat (PDF) 381kB Mar11 20), Exploitive Fishing (Acrobat (PDF) 355kB Mar11 20), and Physical Damage (Acrobat (PDF) 311kB Mar11 20).
6. Watch a short film about each one of the threats, and then answer the associated Checking In questions.
Answer the following questions to check your understanding of what you read and viewed.
- How does watershed pollution harm coral reefs?
- What are some ways to protect corals from watershed pollution?
- What are the two main types of exploitive fishing?
- Name four negative impacts of exploitive fishing.
- How is coastal development harmful to coral reefs?
- How does the degradation of coral reefs from coastal development impact a country or region's economy?
- What are some types of physical damage to coral reefs?
- What are some ways to protect corals from physical damage?
Stop and Think
5: Can you think of any other activities or phenomena that might be harmful to coral reefs? Explain.
6: There are many ways to categorize the different local threats to corals. Now that you know more about the local threats, are there any that you would categorize differently? How might you categorize the local threats if you were explaining the threats to someone?
Watersheds & Coastal Development
Trying to put a dent in Dynamite Fishing in the Philippines
See how tropical fish get to your aquarium with this National Geographic article.
From the UN Environment Programme: Preventing Our Oceans from Becoming Dumps
An international research group discovered that Plastic Trash Conveys Disease to Coral Reefs