The Effect of Global Climate Change on Coral Reefs – Nick


    Everyone loves the beach. Whether it’s the Jersey shore, beautiful Caribbean beaches, or even the white cliffs of dover. Well, whether you may know it or not, these beautiful ecosystems are in danger. The threat, however, is not something that can be seen from your chair in the sand, it can be seen when you venture out into the alien-like world of the reefs of the ocean.

    There is a great deal of loss happening right beneath our noses. Let me just put something into perspective; if humans are an example of a species, their class would be mammalia. If roses are an example of a species, their class would be angiosperms. Imagine losing the entire population of mammals on the planet. Imagine losing the entire population of every flowering plant on the planet. This exact issue is happening right now. I give this example because I want to portray the absolute magnitude of an issue. However, it’s not happening to roses, and we know for sure that this is not happening to humans, but corals are the ones that are in danger.

    This issue is something that really weighs heavily on my heart because of my deep connection with the ocean. Ever since I was able to walk, I was swimming in the surf and digging in the sand for small sand crabs. This is mainly because of my family background which is heavily based in the Caribbean on a small island called Nevis. I have been back and forth constantly for the past seventeen years of my life. While everyone visits the Caribbean for the carefree environment and Americanized resorts on the beach, I always longed for something else. Something to infatuate my energetic and chaotic mind of mine. Then it came to me: I was swimming with my grandmother when I was four years old off of the coast of Saint Kitts (a neighboring island to Nevis) when I first caught a glimpse of the magnificent beauty that lives beneath the ocean’s waves: coral reefs. There was something about the absolute harmony that everything functioned, almost like it was clockwork. Each year afterwards, I always came back with a new question or idea I wanted clarified. However, as I grow older and become more politically and environmentally aware in the world, I am able to see more than what I did when I was a child, which is a blessing and a curse. Growing up meant that I needed to eventually face the hard truth: there is something wrong with the environment. However, it is not something that we can see on a regular basis so it rarely affects us. This is why I decided to focus my Independent Research topic on the problems that exist in our world for coral reefs.

    After watching the movie Chasing Coral, I was able to see that there is hope because there are people that are trying to make a difference, just like I am. Watching the film has really helped me in the process of kick starting this project because it lead me to meeting my project mentor: Zack Rago. Zack just finished up his college career at University of Colorado in Boulder a few years back and is heavily invested in the movement to help raise awareness and problem-solve in the global fight against coral bleaching. This is why I am so happy to announce that he will be by my side throughout the process in helping me through my project.

     As far as actual project ideas, I still have many kinks to work out and ideas to go through. The most likely of my ideas is to do a side-by-side project with what I will be working on in my Environmental Research class with T. Dana Jensen. This proposal would include building a coral tank in the lab in the science center lab and running different tests on the different tanks (one being a controlled tank) and then after all of the data collection, moving the tank into the library for the sake of building an interactive study break opportunity for students. I would plan to get information across to people by means of an application on some sort of screen. This application would probably be given to someone in the computer science course for the sake of applied skills. As far as that part of the plan goes, I have approached both T. Tom Gilbert (Computer Science teacher) as well as T. Dana.

P.S. If there is anyone that would like to get a little bit of context or other broad background information, I would HIGHLY suggest watching the Netflix film: Chasing Coral. I will also post a link to an interview with Zack Rago talking about his experience making the movie: Chasing Coral as well as his personal views on the topics that the movie tries to outline.

Images taken by Grant Thomas from The Ocean Agency

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4 thoughts on “The Effect of Global Climate Change on Coral Reefs – Nick

  1. sabrina.schoenborn

    I am really interested in your independent seminar! Climate change and its effect on Coral Reefs (especially the Great Barrier Reef) is such an important issue to look into. I would encourage you to look at the structure of your blog post and see how you can make it more engaging for your reader! Excited to see where you take this study!

  2. Dylan Lippiatt-Cook

    I recently read about the Coral Reef that is found in the middle east that is the only growing one, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we as a world can use that as a foundation to continue to help save the other reefs. 🙂

  3. Yuchen Cao

    I still remember myself visiting the Great Barrier Reef when I was only five. Since then I have heard a lot about choral bleaching. It is heartbreaking to imagine that those spectacles would only exist on postcards. I am very interested in your project, and I’m glad that you have found a mentor who is already invested in this area. For a non-engineer like me, the project sounds amazing and complicated. Looking forwards to your updates on more details of the project and a more thorough explanation of the process!

  4. oceanofdifference

    Thanks for your care and efforts on coral protection. What you have mentioned is exactly what we should become aware of in our everyday life! It is always exciting to see the more and more people come to understand the importance of coral protection. Coral bleaching is definitely not a single country but a global issue which need us to face it and get our hands on it as soon as possible. I’m currently running a campaign titled ‘ocean of difference’ in which encouraging people protecting the ocean environment by simply choosing the reef-safe sunscreen. I’d love if you could check it out and leave some advises.
    Btw, I love the documentary you recommended. Really look forward for more content from you.


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