Topic: “Describe the way in which coral reefs have contributed to social and cultural life in the Caribbean. ” Corals are marine animals which usually live in compact colonies of many identical polyps. Corals secrete calcium carbonate which forms reefs. Such reefs and are located near the Equator in tropical and subtropical waters. The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef located off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Coral reefs are often referred to as the “rainforests of the ocean” and form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. 5% of marine animals call these reefs their home as it takes up almost 0. 1% of the ocean’s surface. Caribbean reefs not only include the Caribbean region proper but also Florida, Bahamas, Bermuda and the northeastern coast of South America. The Caribbean boasts friniging reefs that encircle much of the smaller islands. Two true barrier reefs are located in Belize and Yucatan, Mexico. Off the coast of southern Belize, there is a developed atoll reef called the Glover’s Reef. Almost 100 million people depend on coral reefs for survival as it provides food, money and enjoyment.
The ability of the reefs to buffer the wave energy provides shoreline protection and in turn reduces coastal erosion. As a result, coastal dwellings, agricultural land and beaches are protected. Reefs being the habitat for my fishes, provide food for many persons. Shrimps, crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans are among favourites that can be found there. Apart from this, coral reefs provide an economic benefit for Caribbean islands. This benefit can be sourced from the tourism which is brought in. This also provide jobs for many such as diving tours, hotels and recreational tours.
Scuba divers and snorklers visit the Caribbean annually to enjoy the reefs and the sea life. Almost half of Caribbean islands’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is as a result of tourism associated with the coral reefs. With the introduction of tourists from all the world, they get the chance to experience our various cultures. Coral reefs also boasts its medicinal values. Scientists have developed various treatments from resources found in reefs. Secosteroids, an enzyme used by corals to protect themselves from disease, is used to treat asthma, arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
Drugs to help cancer cells from dividing and multiplying use a chemical found in the coral, Eleutherobia. Coral calcium can cure Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Heart Disease and among other dangerous diseases that affect the human population. As you can see, coral reefs play a vital role either contributing to social or cultural life here in the Caribbean. Due to recent times, our reefs are facing threats of depletion as a result of pollution, overfishing and climate change. It is up to us to help maintain and preserve this ecosystem because of its functions and many benefits to both human and marine life.