Coral Reefs are one of the most important ecosystems we have. There is an abundance of bio diversity. Coral reefs only cover about 0.1% of the ocean but is home to 1/4 of all marine species. These species depend heavily on coral reefs for protection and food. Corals are also great filters for the ocean and clean up the quality of the water . Coral reefs can rack up upward to $1.25 million per hectare from tourism, coastal protection, and medical use.
Coal Reef Threats:
Coral reefs are rapidly declining. In the past 30 years we have lost over a 1/4 of all the live coral in the world. The Decline of coral reefs are due to several stressors. There are Anthropogenic pressures and Environmental pressures. Some of the anthropogenic pressures include coastal development, over fishing/fishing practices, and management activities. Another thing that stresses the coral reefs are the environmental pressures. More specifically climate change. Climate change is warming the waters and changing the oceans acidification. Warming waters cause coral bleaching which is when the coral release the zooxanthellae turning the corals completely white.
Healthy reefs can self repair to a certain degree but is not enough. Nursing coral reefs back to life takes a long time. One thing that can help is Artificial reefs. Artificial reefs are man made coral structures placed in cinder blocks or often times ship wrecks. Artificial reefs are a good mediator but should not be a permanent solution.
The spotted Eagle Ray also known as Aetobatus narinari is a type of stingray that is part of the family Myliobatidae. The Spotted Eagle Ray varies in size usually around 4-8 feet and swim at a depth of 10-80 feet. They typically have long snouts and a thick scull with a single row of crescent shaped teeth. The Eagle Rays body is black or blue with white spots on top while the bottom is all white. They do not have a caudal fin but have these long whip like tails. Eagle Rays are mostly found in the western Atlantic/ Caribbean. Eagle Rays are commonly found in large schools.
The Spotted Eagle Ray is a predator that is able to search for benthic invertebrates. They mostly feed off of mainly bivalves shrimps, crabs, octopus, clams, and sea urchins. The sting rays sharp teeth are able to crush the prey between their teeth and separate the shells with the papillae.
The Spotted Eagle Ray is not a big focus for fisheries. Due to the poor quality of the sting rays flesh it is rarely eaten. Instead the sting ray is used for fishmeal and oil. They are mostly fished for aquarium use since they don’t get eaten. The way they are fished is with huge trawls that picks up everything that gets stuck in its net.