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July 22, 2009

Coral Reefs

Ecosystems vary in the amount of plant matter they are capable of producing. Productivity is the amount of biomass (plants, animals and microbes) created in an ecosystem over a period of time, usually a year. The most productive ecosystem is an aquatic ecosystem. Coral reefs produce 70,000 pounds of algea per acre each year. Some of our best cultivated farm lands produce only 13,000 pounds of corn per acre in a good year. Mountain meadows produce only one or two pounds of plants per acre in a year.

Human activity may represent the greatest threat to coral reefs. In particular, global warming, coral mining, pollution, over-fishing, blast fishing, and the digging of canals are serious threats to these ecosystems. Agricultural runoff may also threaten reefs by encouraging the growth of harmful algea.
Consider this:
In a given body of water -
Coral Reef produces algea growth -> algea is eaten by midge larvae -> which is eaten by damselfly nymphs -> which is fed on by steelhead trout -> which feeds humans.
When coral reefs die, so does the food chain.
The Coral Reef Alliance is the only international nonprofit organization that works exclusively to protect our planet's coral reefs. They provide the tools, education and inspiration to residents of coral reef destinationsto support local projects that benefit both reefs and people.

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