21 July, 2006

The Lives of Coral, The life of Sea

Yes it’s been raining softly today in Tokyo and things aren’t too different from yesterday. Nice ’n cool.
Last night I went to bed with an extra sweatshirt so I wasn’t freezing this morning and actually I slept really comfortably. Although, the comfortableness got me to work a bit late.

So, I guess there isn’t anything else to tell you except for Okinawa.

To add a bit more information about coral bleaching, as many of you may know it’s not an issue unique to Okinawa but is a serious problem worldwide approximately 40 places including the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and the Red Sea, and is literally a phenomenon in which corals turn dead white.

There are these 0.01mm big single cell marine microalgae called zooxanthella living inside coral photosynthesizing. But when the sea temperature goes up about 2 degrees celcius, these zooxanthella leave the corals leaving the corals no other way but to die. Corals are originally white, so the colorful corals we usually see or imagine of are actually the colors of the zooxanthella.

So what happens when corals die? How would it affect us?
In short, the coral reef is kind of like a plant that provide oxygen inside the water, so when corals die the sea becomes full of carbon dioxide eventually making it a sea of death.

I can’t go into full details here so I’ll leave that to the experts, but I’ll write here what and how I felt getting to know this fact and see the state.

I had a chance to see both dead and alive coral in the same spot I was diving in, and I tell you the views provided by each of the kind are totally different.

Like I said, because the corals lose color the difference is very clear. There were some that were broken from the roots and some were turned over like a table flipped. No matter how much and how far I look across, and no matter how colorful the others were, the white ghosty corals floating and lying there were never ignorable.

My friend who had known the place for years said it wasn’t this bad the last time he came here, and sadly feared that the view we had there would become the view of the place we were the previous day, few years later from now. When seeing such things, I feel the weakness of myself, like I can’t do anything about it. But even then, I try to come up with things we can do.

I probably wouldn’t have thought the same way if I had only seen the dead corals there at the desert island, cuz the water was still extremely clear and the fish don’t speak to you with hearable voices.

It’s not hypocrisy or anything, but I truly want to do something about it after seeing all the ghosts of the sea. It’s a natural feeling that wells up within me.

So what should be done and what can I do?
Next time I’ll try to get to that point along with some stories the divers have told me.

No comments: