Coral Reefs – Endangered oases of the oceans
Coral reefs are among the most beautiful and spectacular ecosystems on earth. Although they cover only 0.1% of the world's ocean surface, they provide a habitat for an estimated 1 - 3 million species, including more than a quarter of all marine fish species. Coral reefs are therefore one of the most biodiverse habitats on our planet with an outstanding importance also for us humans. It’s "ecosystem services" range from food supply and coastal protection, to tourism and medicine, with an estimated economic value around 100.000 – 600.000 US$ per km2 per year.
Unfortunately, reefs around the world are directly affected by climate change and ocean acidification. Rising water temperatures and increased CO2 concentrations in the world's oceans lead to coral bleaching and lower calcification rates, often resulting in the death of the reef. In addition to climatic changes, continued human activities such as over-fertilization, coastal development, rainforest deforestation, overfishing and pollution continue to cause damage to coral reefs and now threaten 2/3 of all reefs worldwide.