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Marine Medicine Cabinets

Coral reefs are a significant ecosystem that support a diversity of human needs such as generating income for local people through tourism, fishing and recreational activities. Coral reefs also assist in the protection of coastal locations from impacts of storms and erosion from wave action both of which is likely to increase due to climate change. Additionally, coral bleaching is another serious global concern, it is caused by increasing seawater temperature. When water is too warm, corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. For example, Kiribati lost approximately 95% of their coral ecosystem in 2015-2016 due to a massive coral bleaching event. Also, coral reefs contain an array of organisms that are vital towards the development of medicine therefore it is called one of earth's "medicine cabinets." Many medicinal compounds are yet to be explored, however, this depends on the survival of coral reefs. Further, in many parts of the world coral reefs are a critical part of cultural heritage and various traditions are linked to these reefs. Therefore, it is essential to raise awareness and implement measures for the protection and management of coral reefs. If nothing is done now, coral reef will degrade or become destroyed, thus services it once provided will be reduced or eliminated.

Story Information:

Country: Fiji

Topic: Natural Habitats

Photo or video credit: @dannysingh_fiji

Text Credit: Danny Singh

Date : 4 September 2023

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