By Charlotte Bertsch, III Form
Studio I Art: Zoanthids and Coral
Zoanthids live on rocky and rubbly areas in flat intertidal zones. This particular kind of zoanthid, zoanthus sociatus, can be found on the highest part of the intertidal zone, which means that the coral is located in a middle ground between tide marks and is underwater during high tide and above water during low tide. The other kinds of zoanthids live on the upper levels in the lower surf zone, which indicates that they are located in the region where waves break.
Zoanthids are not an endangered species nor are they threatened by natural causes. However, the kinds of zoanthids located in the intertidal zone are threatened by humans. Pollution and humans trampling over the zoanthids in the intertidal zone are the only real dangers zoanthids face.
The Caribbean coast of Panama has 290 square kilometers of over 70 species of coral. Bleaching is not a problem in the area, however bad alga is blocking sunlight and is smothering the coral. This is the only danger the coral is currently facing.
Zoanthids are a relatively common coral. They expand and grow very easily, which leads to large zoanthid colonies. Zoanthids are not fragile and can withstand the weather well. They are even tougher when they are within a colony. They have strength in numbers, and lone zoanthids have a much larger chance of dying compared to those in a colony.
More info on coral status culled from all Studio I students:
Many people are oblivious to the destruction that is taking place below land. Coral is bleaching in astonishing numbers, causing deaths that can spread miles across reefs. A huge factor for the bleaching is climate change, which is greatly contributing to the changes in water temperature. The temperature of the water surrounding the coral only has to rise two degrees celsius before the coral becomes threatened. The world has lost roughly half its coral reefs in the last 30 years. Luckily, by June 2017 the global coral bleaching event that started in 2015 appeared to be over. However, almost three successive years of bleaching conditions damaged all but three of the 29 reefs around the world. Almost 90% of the coral reefs in Florida were damaged or affected during this massive bleaching event. Coral reefs play a major role in maintaining the health of the ocean. They can control and alleviate the height of the tides, and they support a quarter of all marine species, as well as half a billion people around the world. The disappearance of coral reefs isn’t something that’s going to happen 100 years from now. We’re losing them right now.
Due to the fact that people are not presented with the knowledge about the devastation that mass bleachings have caused, they do not know enough to help. Coral can’t survive if people are not intervening. If coral dies, eventually the ecosystem in which it plays a role in will die, too. Coral only makes up 1% of the ocean floor, but provides resources for 25% of all marine life to survive. Many people are fooled by the misconception that coral will be around forever. However, at the current rate at which coral are dying, coral will be extinct within the next 40 years. If coral reefs are lost, we won’t just be losing a beautiful piece of nature, but we will also be viewing the beginning of an entire class dying. We must become educated on this matter and do everything in our power to help this issue because every coral counts.
Charlotte Bertsch is a III Form student from Boston, MA. She lives in Pine Oak, plays soccer, and loves to paint, draw, and spend time with her family and friends.