Fantastic, clownfish that starts out as a male (1)
Your mate dies (1)
And you become a “dominant female” (1)
To mate with one of the other males present within your school
You spend most of your time amongst the writhing tentacles of a sea anemone
Because you’re immune to its sting
It’s a mutualistic relationship with the anemone
Which helps protect you from predators
And you do the same for it
You’re omnivorous aquatic fish (2)
Which means that you eat plants and animals
But where you get your prey
Depends on what kind of clownfish you are
And where you hang your hat (3)
Your, mainly dazzling orange with black and white striped coloring
Is a truly exotic aquatic sight to behold
Information and Conservation of Coral Reefs:
Coral reefs hold a within them a very diverse realm of marine species and this includes clownfish. Coral reefs help provide extra barriers for us during stormy weather. They also provide many jobs that involve the fishing industry and ecotourism. Many human activities are destroying this valuable ecosystem at a rapid pace. The results of our activities have caused major pollution, coral bleaching, overexploitation of many marine species, invasive species to inhabit certain reefs, certain diseases to occur, and changes within our climate.
Coral bleaching is where high temperature changes caused by global warming within our ocean waters weaken and destroy the Zooxanthellae, an important food source, within the coral reefs. If the zooxanthellae die the corals themselves will eventually turn white, follow suit and die. According to the Coral Reef Alliance Website it states that “Occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to more than twenty-five percent of marine life… A highly biodiverse ecosystem, one with many different species, is often more resilient to changing conditions and can better withstand significant disturbances” (4). If we lose our coral reef environments we lose all of the amazing species that live within them which will in turn cause a massive breakdown in the oceanic food web. This will forever change our oceans and how many of our society survives.
If we want to save coral reefs, there are a number of things we can do. It begins with learning about the reefs and the various species they support. There are many education and training programs which focus on reef ecology and the importance of reefs to humans (such as pharmaceuticals developed from reef organisms) and its fragile ecosystem. Zoos and aquariums can also offer information about conservation efforts. There are plenty of outreach programs and supporting the reefs includes making your own outreach efforts by educating friends and family. If you dive, “Take only pictures and leave only bubbles” (5).
Make sure all related businesses you purchase from are using ecologically sound practices- from local fish sellers (edible or pet) to dive shops, boat stores and tour guides. Be an informed consumer and ask questions; how was that pretty aquarium coral collected? Is it legally harvested and sustainable? If you come across someone who seems uninformed or ambivalent, let them know the reason you are taking your business elsewhere.
Website Information on Clownfish and the Conservation of Coral Reefs:
(1) A-Z Animals.com [Website 2008-2016]. Clown Fish. [Cited Feb. 24th, 2016]. Available From: http://a-z-animals.com/animals/clown-fish/.
(4) Coral Reef Alliance [Website 2014-2016]. Coral Reef Biodiversity. [Cited Feb. 25th, 2016. Available From: http://coral.org/coral-reefs-101/coral-reef-ecology/coral-reef-biodiversity/.
(5) Outrigger: Hotels and Resorts .com [Website 2010-2015]. [Cited Mar. 2nd, 2016]. Available From: http://www.outrigger.com/explore/hawaiian-islands/snorkeling-water-adventures/things-you-can-do-to-protect-coral-reefs.