Functions of Coral Reefs: Coral reefs are important for many different reasons aside from supposedly containing the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They:
This is why large numbers of marine species live in reefs. Other reasons why they are so important include:
Importance of healthy ecosystems: Reducing biodiversity through the extinction of species inevitably leads to the breakdown in ecosystem health and function. Healthy ecosystems are essential to provide us with:
A diverse range of species provides a larger gene pool, giving natural communities survival options when environmental conditions and climates change. Species evolve over time as natural selection favours the ‘best’ of these survival options. Therefore, extinction poses a greater threat to species for which there is limited diversity.
Existing species need to be conserved for scientists do not know everything there is to know about all species. A species may play a crucial role in an ecosystem and if it is removed, all organisms in that community may feel the impact. The greater the number of species and hence genetic diversity in an ecosystem, the lesser will be the impact of removing individual species.
The health, management and conservation of biodiversity, is a fundamental issue facing humankind, presenting a real challenge to biology today. The major factors that affect the health and function of our Great Barrier Reef are climate change and pollution. As Queenslanders, it is important that we develop strategies to protect our reef.