Sharks are Important for Healthy Coral Reefs | Pew

Sharks are Important for Healthy Coral Reefs | Pew



for millions of years sharks have played an important role in the marine environment but around the world shark populations are declining this has serious consequences for our oceans in the Pacific scientists compared the conditions of coral reefs in relatively pristine less populated areas with reefs that were heavily impacted by human activities such as overfishing and habitat destruction in the pristine locations scientists found more stable healthy coral reef ecosystems with a high abundance of sea life these systems were dominated by sharks and other large predators in areas dominated by human activity where sharks have been overfished changes were seen throughout the marine environment including negative impacts on corals similar studies in the Caribbean have found that as sharks decline other species such as parrotfish may also decline many corals depend on herbivorous fish like parrotfish to eat algae and allow new corals the opportunity to settle and grow as populations of these fish declined they were no longer able to keep algae growth in check the reef shifted to an algae dominated echo system which lacked the diversity of marine species found in healthy coral reefs these important studies show that fish abundance and thriving coral reefs are associated with healthy shark populations sharks need protection to maintain a diverse marine environment and healthy coral reefs you

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