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THE CHEMISTRY OF CORAL BLEACHING. WHAT IS A CORAL? CORALS ARE MARINE INVERTEBRATES (ANIMALS) THEY CAN TAKE MANY SHAPES! THEY USUALLY LIVE IN COLONIES.

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Presentation on theme: "THE CHEMISTRY OF CORAL BLEACHING. WHAT IS A CORAL? CORALS ARE MARINE INVERTEBRATES (ANIMALS) THEY CAN TAKE MANY SHAPES! THEY USUALLY LIVE IN COLONIES."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE CHEMISTRY OF CORAL BLEACHING

2 WHAT IS A CORAL? CORALS ARE MARINE INVERTEBRATES (ANIMALS) THEY CAN TAKE MANY SHAPES! THEY USUALLY LIVE IN COLONIES OF TINY POLYPS GENETICALLY IDENTICAL OF THE SAME PHYLUM AS JELLY FISH AND SEA ANEMONE (CNIDARIA) STINGING CELLS CALLED NEMATOCYSTS THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF CORALS HERMATYPIC (HARD, STONY CORAL) AHERMATYPIC (SOFT CORAL)

3 ACTIVITY: BUILDING A CORAL POLYP ONE 3" X 3" STICKY NOTE PENCIL OR PEN TRANSPARENT TAPE SCISSORS 1 EGG CARTON CUP (1/12 OF AN EGG CARTON)

4 STRUCTURAL AND CHEMICAL MAKE-UP

5 THE REEF BUILDERS POLYPS BUILD HARD LIMESTONE CUPS AROUND THEIR BASES THE CUPS CEMENT TOGETHER TO MAKE A CORAL COLONY REEFS ARE MADE OF HUNDREDS OF HARD CORAL COLONIES NEXT TO AND ON TOP OF EACH OTHER REEF-BUILDING CORALS CAN ONLY SURVIVE IN FAIRLY SHALLOW AREAS WHERE SUNLIGHT CAN PENETRATE REFERRED TO AS THE TROPICAL RAINFOREST OF THE OCEAN REEFS ARE THE LARGEST STRUCTURES MADE BY LIVING CREATURES!

6 WHY ARE CORAL REEFS IMPORTANT?? USED FOR FOOD AND MEDICINE ECONOMIC BENEFITS (TOURISM, JOBS AND FOOD) - $375 BILLION A YEAR BREEDING GROUNDS FOR MARINE ANIMALS (FISH) PROTECTS SHORES FROM WAVES AND STORMS HOME & SHELTER TO 25% OF THE FISH IN THE OCEAN SOURCE OF NITROGEN AND OTHER NUTRIENTS ESSENTIAL FOR THE FOOD CHAIN

7 PLANT PIGMENT IDENTIFICATION MINI-LAB Adopted from : J. Chem. Educ. 2013, 90, 755 − 759 The whitening of corals due to the loss of their symbiotic zooxanthellae or the pigments associated with the algae.

8 WHERE IS THE PIGMENTATION IN CORAL? SYMBIOSIS MANY HARD AND SOFT CORALS (AND SOME JELLYFISH AND SEA ANEMONES) CONTAIN A SYMBIOTIC SINGLE-CELLED DINOFLAGELLATE (ALGAE) CALLED ZOOXANTHELLAE THIS IS A MUTUALISTIC SYMBIOSIS ZOOXANTHELLAE (LIVING WITHIN CORAL TISSUES) CONTAIN THE PIGMENTS THAT GIVE CORALS THEIR COLOR!

9 FROM THIS…

10 TO THIS…

11 DAY 2 CORAL BLEACHING

12 FROM THIS…

13 TO THIS…

14 WHAT IS CORAL BLEACHING? CORAL BLEACHING IS A STRESS RESPONSE IN CORAL REEFS THAT INVOLVES THE WHITENING OF CORALS DUE TO THE BREAKDOWN OR LOSS OF THEIR SYMBIOTIC ZOOXANTHELLAE OR THE PIGMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH ALGAE

15 IMPORTANCE OF ZOOXANTHELLAE  THE ZOOXANTHELLAE PROVIDE CORAL WITH THEIR BEAUTIFUL COLORS. WITHOUT THE ALGAE CORALS ARE CLEAR OR WHITE  PHENOMENON KNOWN AS CORAL BLEACHING  ZOOXANTHELLAE THAT LIVES IN CORAL TISSUE PROVIDE NUTRIENTS SUCH AS SUGARS AND OXYGEN THAT ARE ESSENTIAL FOR THE PRODUCTION OF CALCIUM CARBONATE (CORAL REEF SKELETON).  MORE THAN 50% OF THE CORALS’ NUTRIENTS ARE DERIVED FROM PHOTOSYNTHETIC PRODUCTS PRODUCED BY ZOOXANTHELLAE  PRODUCTION OF LARGE AMOUNTS OF MOLECULAR OXYGEN (O 2 ) THAT ALLOWS FOR EFFICIENT RESPIRATION BY THE CORAL HELPS PREVENT INFECTION

16 PHOTOSYNTHESIS Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, some bacteria, and some protezoans use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar. The conversion of unusable sunlight energy into usable chemical energy, is associated with the actions of the green pigment chlorophyll.

17 BALANCED PHOTOSYNTHESIS EQUATION

18 ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS THAT CAUSE THE RELEASE OF ZOOXANTHELLAE (SYMBIODINIUM) TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATION OF LOW AND HIGH SEA TEMPERATURE ACCOMPANYING INTENSE UPWELLING WINTER: CHANGE FROM -3 C TO -5 C FOR 5 TO 10 DAYS SUMMER: CHANGE FROM 1 TO 2 C FOR 5 C TO 10 DAYS (MORE COMMON) OCEAN ACIDIFICATION ABSORPTION OF CO 2 BY SEAWATER IS A CHEMICAL REACTIONS THAT REDUCE THE PH OF SEAWATER CAUSING THE WATER TO BECOME MORE ACIDIC UV RADIATION HIGH LEVELS OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS LEADS TO HIGH AMOUNTS OF NITRIC OXIDE PRODUCTION BY ZOOXANTHELLAE SALINITY ZOOXANTHELLAE ARE SENSITIVE TO LOW SALINITY DUE TO PRECIPITATION AND RUNOFF NEAR SHALLOW, CLEAR WATERS (NO DEEPER THAN 100M) WITH PLENTY OF SUNLIGHT.

19 OCEAN ACIDIFICATION WHEN CO 2 DISSOLVES IN SEAWATER, CARBONIC ACID IS PRODUCED VIA THE REACTION: CO 2 + H 2 O H 2 CO 3 THIS CARBONIC ACID DISSOCIATES IN THE WATER, RELEASING HYDROGEN IONS AND BICARBONATE: H 2 CO 3 HCO H + ONE RESULT OF THE RELEASE OF HYDROGEN IONS IS THAT THEY COMBINE WITH ANY CARBONATE IONS IN THE WATER TO FORM BICARBONATE (A BASE) CO H + HCO 3 -

20 CORALS AND CHEMISTRY MINI- LAB

21 TEMPERATURE CLIMATE CHANGE (GLOBAL WARMING) IS A MAJOR CONCERN: IF TEMPERATURES CONTINUE TO INCREASE TO 1-2 C, FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS THERE WILL BE MASS CORAL BLEACHING WORLDWIDE. THE HIGH SEAWATER TEMPERATURE ELEVATION WILL AFFECT OVER 95% OF THE SPECIES LIVING WITHIN THE CORAL AND LEAD SPECIES TO BECOME EXTIRPATED OR EXTINCT. BLEACHING EVENTS ALSO OCCUR DURING SUDDEN TEMPERATURE DROPS -3 C TO –5 C FOR 5-10 DAYS), SEASONAL COLD-AIR OUTBREAKS

22 FORECASTING BLEACHING EVENTS MINI-LAB

23 DOES BLEACHING MEAN DEATH?? IF THE STRESS-CAUSING BLEACHING IS NOT TOO SEVERE AND IF IT DECREASES IN TIME, THE AFFECTED CORALS USUALLY REGAIN THEIR SYMBIOTIC ALGAE WITHIN SEVERAL WEEKS OR A FEW MONTHS. IF ZOOXANTHELLAE LOSS IS PROLONGED. THUS, IF THE STRESS CONTINUES AND DEPLETED ZOOXANTHELLAE POPULATIONS DO NOT RECOVER, THE CORAL HOST EVENTUALLY DIES.

24 PROTECT THE CORALS THAT PROTECT YOU!


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