The Zee News , 23 August 2006

Global warming threatens life of corals

Gandhinagar, Aug 22: The marine eco system especially the corals in India are being threatened due to global warming, causing concern to the government as well as to environmentalists, according to a senior forest official who has been conducting an extensive study of the corals.

"Global warming is leading to bleaching and mass mortality of the corals which form a very vital part of the marine eco system," said C N Pande a senior forest officer in Gujarat.

Global warming is the gradual increase in the overall temperature of the Earth`s atmosphere due to increased levels of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, and other pollutants.

Corals are tiny fragile animals which are often mistaken for rocks or plants because of the structures they build up. Commonly, the word coral refers to the external structure of calcium carbonate. The animal is transparent and without any bones and is known as `polyp`.

It has a micro algae called `zooxanthellae` inside the cell which is coloured due to the presence of chlorophyll.

The bleaching of the corals results from the loss of symbiotic zooxanethellae due to the reduction of photosynthetic pigment concentrations in zooxanthellae residing within the coral.

The coral reef bleaching is caused by a variety of factors including sea temperature, solar irradiance, sedimentation, dilution of fresh water etc.