Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
With autumn’s red and gold leaves taking center stage now, it’s easy to overlook the dazzling colors hidden from sight below the sea in the ocean’s coral reefs.
Exotic and mysterious, coral reefs around the world, from Hawaii and the Caribbean to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef exist in an endless variety of color.
More than just objects of beauty, coral reefs are underwater living ecosystems that provide food and shelter to more than 25% of the ocean’s sea life. Coral reefs have been called the “rainforests of the sea.”
And like trees protecting the land from the elements, coral reefs protect the world’s shorelines from storms and erosion and help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.
The different colors of the reefs – red, orange, yellow, blue, pink, and more – come from the mix of algae in their tissues and varying light conditions and water temperatures. The brighter and bolder the colors, the healthier the reefs.
Marine scientists are working to keep the vivid colors in the reefs – no easy task given the threats from climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and overfishing.
In her children’s book The Great Barrier Thief author Dr. Sue Pillans (AKA “Suzie Starfish”), a marine scientist and visual artist, tackles the problem of “coral bleaching” and the reasons that many coral reefs are losing their colors.
With the help of her protagonist, a pink fish named Anthia, Pillans hopes to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t lose its dazzling colors.
From the tallest trees to the deepest coral treasures SurfWriter Girls are excited about the world of fall colors to sea.
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