Importance of Natural Resources

Researching Ocean Health – UC Irvine

Coral reefs are some of the oldest, most
diverse ecosystems on the planet. They help protect our coastlines from erosion
and supply half a billion people with food. Made up of colonies of tiny animals, coral reefs occupy only 1% of the ocean floor but are home to 25% of all marine life. Hi, I’m Joleah Lamb and I study oceans and coral reefs at the University of California, Irvine. Did you know there’s a growing threat
facing coral reefs across the globe? Improperly discarded plastic trash drifts in our oceans, collecting bacteria on its surface in tiny pits and pores. Then it gets tangled around the coral, cutting it and creating open wounds
that let in nasty bacteria and disease. Sunlight is an energy source for corals
and if plastic covers and shades them, they can’t produce enough energy
to heal and fight off bacteria. Oxygen levels are also lowered
by plastic smothering the coral, a condition that’s a hotbed for bacteria. Sadly, any one of these factors
can lead to coral reefs dying. At UCI we study ways to protect coral reefs so that we can improve and safeguard
them for future generations.

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