Die or adapt? The largest living organism tortured delirium tremens

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Half of the coral polyps of the Great Barrier reef in Australia died from underwater waves, heat and hunger. RIA Novosti says about this environmental disaster and the future of inhabitants of tropical waters.

The Union of polyps and dinoflagellates

Reefs are the result of symbiosis between the coral polyps and their zooxanthellae inhabiting. These single-celled creatures secreted by the polyps absorb carbon dioxide and convert it from solar energy into nutrients — glucose, amino acids, glycerol. And the polyps of hard and insoluble calcium carbonate is formed underwater geological structures.

Coral polyps reproduce by budding. But once a year they throw into the water the sex cells that give rise to new colonies. Over time, the corals form huge reefs, whole Islands and their chains.

The great barrier reef stretches nearly three thousand miles — the largest on Earth structure of living organisms.

© AFP 2018 / William WestРыбы swim in the coral of the Great Barrier reef in AustraliaDie or adapt? The largest living organism tortured delirium tremens© AFP 2018 / William WestРыбы swim in the coral of the Great Barrier reef in Australia
Three waves of extinction

Coral reefs grow in shallow water where a lot of sunlight, when the water temperature is not below 18 degrees Celsius. This limits their habitat tropics.

For reefs is detrimental as the cooling and warming. When the temperature of the water, the zooxanthellae begin to produce toxins and polyps reject them. This is accompanied by a whitening of corals obliged bright color tiny symbionts.

Mass whitening of coral reefs was first noticed in 1980. This was repeated in 1998 (killed up to 95 percent of shallow reef) and 2010 against the background of a natural phenomenon El niño, amplifying the heating of the ocean. Particularly catastrophic was the year 2016. In the entire history of observations, and it is nearly half a century, the ocean surface was not heated. Then the whitening of the affected 2,300 km Great Barrier reef.

Australian scientists led by Terry Hughes of James cook University found that corals turn white if the water temperature increases by four degrees during the week. While raising six degrees polyps die from the heat. Such a fate befell most of the colonies the Northern part of the Great Barrier reef and a significant part of the Central reef.

© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina DepositphotosГибель corals of the Great Barrier reefDie or adapt? The largest living organism tortured delirium tremens© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina DepositphotosГибель corals of the Great Barrier reef
Abnormal life

Returning to the Great barrier reef in early 2017, the scientists saw that continue to die even those corals that are reunited with zooxanthellae.

Researchers believe that hinders them to get better several factors: the colony lost most of its tissue, polyps, wounded, weakened by whitening, susceptible to disease.

Bleached corals can come back to normal under favorable environmental conditions. Growing polyps will restore the reef in ten years. Regeneration of the colony slow-growing kinds will require several decades. But count on this: the El niño again caused a wave of heat and a new global extinction of coral.

The reef is very vulnerable. In addition to heat, it suffers from typhoons, attacks of predators and human activities. Humans are destroying the construction of the Bank, merge into the ocean of chemicals (especially dangerous antibiotics, fertilizers). Together with coral reef, a rich ecosystem disappears, the locals are deprived of work and food, the whole country and income from tourism.

Analyzing changes in species composition of coral polyps, genetics Australia and the USA have come to the conclusion about the possibility of their updates. The current will come species, more adapted to the conditions of a warming ocean. According to scientists, corals versatile enough to survive the next two hundred and fifty years.

© Flickr / Kyle TaylorВ coral reefs home to hundreds of species of fish, invertebrates, algaeDie or adapt? The largest living organism tortured delirium tremens© Flickr / Kyle TaylorВ coral reefs home to hundreds of species of fish, invertebrates, algae

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