Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

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Mesoamerican Barrier Reef . By: Kelli McLean. About the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR)!. More than 724km long It runs between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen for hundreds of miles, extending from the southern half of the Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay Islands of Honduras - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

Mesoamerican Barrier Reef By: Kelli McLean

About the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR)!More than 724km longIt runs between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen for hundreds of miles, extending from the southern half of the Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay Islands of HondurasLargest coral reef in the Western hemisphere (second largest in the world) Amazing biodiversity, home to 350 species of mollusk, and more than 500 species of fish

LOCATIONThreats on MARFishing (overfishing and cyanide fishing)

Introduction of unwanted species

OVER FISHINGOverfishing occurs when fishing activities reduce fish stocks below an acceptable levelThis can occur in any body of water from a pond to the oceansIt is also a result of the fishing industry rapidly increasing due to improvements in technology and a high demand for already at risk species (in the MAR examples being Snapper, Grouper, Lobster, Conche) The expanding fishing industries are also a large contributor (Aquaculture, artisanal, commercial)

How does this affect the MAR? It can potentially lead to the extinction of species within the ocean ecosystem, taking away from the extremely unique biodiversity of this areaIn addition species that arent targeted by fishers can become unnaturally dominant, act as a invasive species in their own ecosystem, and decrease biomassIt creates a chain effect in various food chains (see notes below)Over fishing of grouper for example has had disastrous effects. The overfishing of grouper leads to an increase of their predator, the damselfish. The damselfish create pockets in the coral reef when feeding, and these pockets are the home to algea. An increase in the damselfish means an increase in these pockets, which thus results in an increase of algae. The increase in algae causes a potential problem because the algae population will spread throughout the reef, inevitably killing it.

6Cyanide fishing! Started in the 1950s and is mostly illegal although still widely practiced Sodium Cyanide is sprayed over habitat (as a result stunning the fish, and other species in the process)Fish are then collected by divers and put up for sale Sometimes in order to locate the fish the coral is physically broken apart by the divers completely destroying itThere is quite a high mortality rate causing many more fish to be stunned than are actually sold

Why is this bad for the MAR?Not only affects the fish, but the coral and the coral reefs as well high mortality rate, meaning that more fish have to be killed than requiredcyanide build-ups which slow photosynthesis in the algae in the reefs causing them to loose colour and reduce the amount of oxygen produced It also can have the same effects (tampering with species population and food chains) as listed for overfishing as fish are removed from the ocean ecosystem, just in a dissimilar manner

Introduction of unwanted speciesWhen organisms are introduced to an area it can cause devastating affects

Specifically within the MAR the introduction of the crown of thorns and lion fish has Crown of Thorns The crown of thorns starfish is the second largest sea star in the world

It is a nocturnal creature that preys on fast-growing and common corals

The crown-of-thorns receives its name from venomous thorn-like spines that cover its body

The Problem The Crown of Thorns Starfish can be blamed for widespread reef destruction

Coral bleaching and Black band disease, mean that outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns can cause permanent damage and prevent new coral from growing

Lion FishIntroduced in the 1990s after an aquarium was destroyed during a hurricaneExtremely evasive as it has no natural predatorsEfforts to reduce population were mainly ineffectiveThe lionfish breeds extremely quickly, and can release Studies have shown lionfish reduce the amount of coral fish by an estimated 80%

Protective measures!Thankfully there are many protective measure being taken by various organizations in order to maintain the Mesoamerican Reef. OAK foundationOak Foundation is an international foundation that has made more than 2,100 grants to not-for-profit organisations across the globe since its establishment in 1998

How do they help?Program GOALS # Improve marine reserve management effectiveness

# Promote sustainable coastal and marine resource management, including sustainable financing

# Promote long-term, non-extractive, diverse economic development opportunities for coastal communitiesAnother Solution The UN has created a unique program for the Caribbean that is hosted within their environmental programs. The Caribbean Environmental Programme was developed in order to legally protect the marine life found in the Mesoamerican reef

WORKS CITED Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef - GlobalGiving. (n.d.). GlobalGiving: donate to projects in the developing world supporting education, health, women and children, and more. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/control-of-invasive-lionfish-in-the-mar-reef/Crown of thorns. (1996). Retrieved from http://www.reefed.edu.au/home/explorer/animals/marine_invertebrates/echinoderms/crown_of_thornsCrown-of-thorns starfish. (2011). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown-of-thorns_starfishMesoamerican reef. (2011). Retrieved from http://worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/mesoamericanreef/results.htmlMesoamerican reef the atlantic oceans largest coral reef. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/mesoamericanreef/Mesoamerican reef - threats. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.worldwildlife.org/whatwherewework/mesoamericanreef/threats.html

WORKS CITED CONT. Mesoamerican reef. (2011). Retrieved from http://worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/mesoamericanreef/results.htmlMesoamerican reef the atlantic oceans largest coral reef. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/mesoamericanreef/Mesoamerican reef - threats. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.worldwildlife.org/whatwherewework/mesoamericanreef/threats.htmlOak Foundation: Marine Env. Gulf of Honduras. (n.d.). Oak Foundation: Home. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from http://www.oakfnd.org/activities/2009/marinemesoamerica.php Overfishing - A global environmental problem, threat to our oceans and disaster.. (n.d.). Overfishing - A global environmental problem, threat to our oceans and disaster.. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from http://overfishing.org/Region. (n.d.). Protecting the Mesoamerican Reef | Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW). Home | Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW). Retrieved July 10, 2011, from http://www.elaw.org/node/1223