There are many programs around the world that monitor the status of coral reefs on a global scale. The contributions to these studies are marked by countries that have a specific interest in the reefs. These countries all take part in the estimated $375 billion of annual revenue. Healthy coral reefs provide things like food, coast protection, and tourism. Reefs are also extremely effective for monitoring status of global climate as the conditions when growing are a lot like tree ring growth in some ways. The amount of nutrients, temperature, and hazardous materials during growth are all recorded in the formation of the reefs.
The main focus of convervation efforts today are the factors that are dangerous to reefs are temperature, pollution, and destructive fishing habits. One of the first signs of stress from the coral reefs is the bleaching effect. The corals in the reef get their color from zooxanthellae. The white skeletons of the coral can be exposed if the zooxanthellae living on them dies. Effects of global warming are shown in the warmth leading to the bleaching and the increased acidity from the higher CO2 levels causes a slower growth due to a higher acidity breaking down the CaCO3, a part of the formation of the reefs. Fishing impacts are noted by bottom trawl nets, blast fishing, cyanide fishing, and overfishing of species that are part of its ecosystem. Cyanide fishing involves putting sodium cyanide into the desired area to stun fish for aquariums. This substance works against the photosynthesis of zooxanthellae causing the coral to be starved. Blast fishing involves using explosives to stun or kill desired fish. This practice has no natural recovery system of the reefs to counteract, effectively turning them into fields of rubble. Pollution that plays a large role in its destruction is the sediment runoff and algal populations increasing to an unhealthy level due to nutrients in the runoff from farms or industries. The reefs are important to the oceans because about 25% of all the species depend on the reefs for food and shelter. They are also important for humans because they provide food, protect shorelines, create tourism jobs, and are even used in medicine.